Tuesday, June 27, 2017

QK Round 5: Alabama Witch Hunters vs. Delicious Vicious Cycles

Title: Southern Fried Witch Hunters
Entry Nickname: Alabama Witch Hunters
Word Count: 45,000
Genre: MG Horror

Query:

Twelve-year-old José Villa wants to be brave like his best friend, Bubba, but he’s more terrified than a fresh bass at a fish fry. So he accepts his role as sidekick in Bubba’s daring, and mostly harebrained, schemes and adventures.

But when José sneaks into a pasture with Bubba in the middle of the night, he encounters a horror he couldn’t have imagined: zombie freaking cows. Oh, and the evil witch Agatha Winters, back from the dead and ready to get revenge on the town that killed her. Not knowing what to do, José and Bubba team up with a young witch expert. Together, the trio works to stop Agatha, encountering a creepy undertaker, an incompetent sheriff, and a horde of demonic squirrels along the way.


When his friends get locked up, it’s up to José to become the hero of the story. He must overcome his fears and stop Agatha before she hoodwinks the whole town into jumping from the same cliff they pushed her off of years ago. 

First 250: 

An angry wind echoed through the night as I read the cracked wooden sign nailed to the fence. “Warning: Trespassers will be skinned alive and deep fried.”

A chill rattled my shoulders. It’d be a miracle if I lived to see the seventh grade.

Bubba sniffed the fresh manure in the air and grinned. “It’s tipping time.”

In Trout Bend, Alabama, cow tipping wasn’t just a hobby. It was an art form. All the best tippers came from our town, but the greatest of them all happened to be my best friend, Bubba, better known around these parts as the da Vinci of the Dairy.

Unfortunately, like most great artists, Bubba had started to go a little bit loco. Actually, scratch that. There was nothing little about it. That boy was nuttier than a pack of rabid squirrels on a cashew binge. I mean, why else would he have dragged me out to Buck Miller’s pasture in the middle of the night?

I gulped. “Bubba, are you sure this is a smart idea?”

He laughed as he squeezed his round body between a couple strands of barbed wire. “Course it ain’t no smart idea, José. But it’s like my daddy always says, ‘Ain’t nobody ever have any fun being smart.’”

I wanted to point out that nobody had ever been arrested for being smart either, but Bubba didn’t like talking about that. I took a deep breath and slid my way through the fence.



VERSUS



Title: VERA WITH A VENGEANCE
Entry NicknameDelicious Vicious Cycles
Word count: 74K
Genre: YA Contemporary, Own Voices (Jewish and sexual assault survivor)

Query: 

Seventeen-year-old entrepreneur Vera Davis starts a business to sell revenge in VERA WITH A VENGEANCE, a 74,000-word young adult contemporary novel.

When a car accident paralyzes Vera’s older brother and kills her parents, she's suddenly in charge of the medical bills, the mortgage, and her own anger and helplessness. Vera's always been good at getting back at people who hurt her, but she can’t exactly get revenge on the curve in the road where her father lost control of the car. 

Meager insurance payouts leave Vera desperate for money, so she starts a business: when the traditional justice system fails her clients, Vera wrecks wrongdoers’ careers and cars, relationships and reputations. She revels in taking down racists and sexual assaulters, but her crush--her brother’s best friend--thinks her style of vengeance is morally wrong. 

Then, while helping a client get payback for a leaked nude picture, Vera finds new evidence about her family’s “accident.” Turns out there is someone for Vera to blame, but the perpetrator had her own very good reason to seek vengeance. 

Now Vera must decide whether getting even is worth getting blood on her hands. 

First 250:

This creeper keeps staring at me with this little half smile, like he thinks I want his eyes undressing me. His face, all chin and cheekbones, reeks of always getting what he wants—women, money, free drinks in first class en route to Ibiza. I want to walk away, but his wife is shopping for an evening gown, and I need the commission to pay the energy bill.

I focus on her, and hold up a green dress to hide my body. “This would look great with your eyes.”

Her eyes are blue, but the green dress sells well, and if she buys it, I’ll hit the monthly quota for a higher commission percentage. I can only work so much after school, and I have to make the hours count.

She turns to Creeper. “What do you think?”

“I’d like to see more.” His eyes flicker down to my calves and back up to my chest. For all his wife can tell, he’s checking out the dress, but his gaze burns my skin.

I hold the dress higher to cover my chest and look at my boss for rescue. He mouths work it. If I didn’t need this job so badly…I force myself to smile.

Creeper’s gold smartwatch buzzes, and he glances away from me. Those watches cost three grand. Three grand would keep the lights on and pay for a month of the mortgage. Three grand could keep Levi and me from losing the house our parents raised us in.

32 comments:

  1. Judges reply here with your vote. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love to both but VICTORY to DELICIOUS!

      Professor McGonagall

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    2. OOPS! Reposting in the correct place! (Please ignore my other vote that is not a reply to Michelle's post!)

      Love both of these concepts and would really like both of them on my Kindle, but if I had to choose, I'll go with the atmosphere up the wazoo:

      Victory to ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS!

      Delete
    3. Both of these sound amazing. If they were published today they would be added to my TBR pile. It's crazy hard to choose which one, but the voice that intrigues me the most is:

      Victory: ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS!

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    4. I love both of these so much! Both queries and first page are great, and truth be told, I'd probably get both these books if I saw them at a store. It's SO HARD, but if I had to pick just one, I'd go with the wonderfully weird, so VICTORY TO ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS

      Delete
    5. Think both these entries are great but one drew me in more with its voice so victory to...

      ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS

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    6. Big, big congratulations for making it into the final four! I really love both and have no doubt you will find agents who love them, too. However, I can only vote for one, and my Veronica Mars loving heart is drawn to one. VICTORY to DELICIOUS

      Delete
    7. From CatAttack

      Two terrific entries, but the voice in one of them has grabbed me every time...

      VICTORY TO ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS

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    8. I'd read both of these books in a heartbeat, and I see them both doing well in the current market, with unique concepts and great writing. But I have to pick one so ...

      Victory to Delicious Vicious Cycles

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    9. These are both rockstars and I look forward to seeing them on shelves someday! It's a difficult choice when the entries are so different (but both so great,) so I'm going to chose the one I'd probably want to read first, and that's the one with horde of demonic squirrels.

      Victory to ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS.

      Delete
    10. Congrats to both entries for making it this far! While I love both of them and it felt impossible to choose... in the end the voice in one grabbed me a tiny bit more than in the other.

      Victory to ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS

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    11. Nearly impossible to decide. I'm going to focus on which query/stakes is stronger since this is *Query* Kombat. I think the stakes are a bit clearer in...

      VICTORY: ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS

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    12. Congrats to both of you! These are both such tightly written pitches, and 1st pages with a lot of atmosphere. I thought the voice was just a little stronger in one, and I gravitated toward the story more...

      Victory to Alabama Witch Hunters!

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    13. Very strong entries!

      Alabama Witch Hunters: strong voice, clear stakes, great hook. No constructive feedback to offer.

      Delicious Vicious Cycles: intriguing plot and great query. I'd like to see a little more description in the first 250. Great job, overall!

      Victory to Alabama Witch Hunters!

      Delete
    14. I love both of these, but the voice in DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES has thrilled me every time.

      Victory to DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES

      Delete
    15. Both entries are fantastic. I love the voice in ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS, but DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES has an intriguing plot and a main character I can easily get behind.

      VICTORY TO DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES

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    16. Vanellope von SchweetzJune 28, 2017 at 9:00 AM

      No way. Pick between these two? I cry now!!! :( seriously, you both have been my favorite right from the start. I really hate myself for having to pick between the two of you. So I'm just going to give my vote on the book I'll likely read first because of the subject matter: VICTORY TO DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES!

      Delete
    17. Two fabulous entries. Best of luck to you both!

      VICTORY TO ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS!

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    18. Great job with your entries--and congrats to both of you!
      Victory: ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS

      Delete
    19. It is wonderfully rewarding to see how far these Kombatants have come in this contest. Bravo to both of them on polishing these queries to a high shine.

      They are both ready for querying in my opinion, but victory to DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES!

      Delete
    20. Oddly, I've never had to read Alabama Witch Hunters before (it progressed through round 3 automatically) It's very cute. The query has lots of personality. I think it will do well, even if it is a bit unconventional.

      I'm a big fan of DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES. It seems well written and charming, and if given the choice, it's the book I want to see out in the world! So...

      Victory to: DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES!

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    21. Outer Space Potato ManJune 28, 2017 at 2:03 PM

      Congrats to you both. This is the first time I've read Delicious Vicious Cycles and it's fantastic and strong. Tough material and I commend you for writing about it. And Alabama Witch Hunters is even better than I remember. The voice is still so on point.

      VICTORY ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS

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    22. Congrats to both of you for making it to the bitter end! Both of your entries shine with voice and have fresh, interesting concepts. I'm sure you will both go far with these entries and manuscripts. Alas, since I must choose one...

      VICTORY TO DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES

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    23. I would happily read either of these books. But since I must pick a winner, I have to say, I'm always a sucker for a good revenge story.

      So victory to DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES!

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    24. Love both of these but can only choose one...

      VICTORY TO DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES!

      Delete
    25. Lumpy Space Author says victory to DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES!

      Delete
  2. Love both of these so much, amazing work and concepts. but I can only choose one. Victory to DELICIOUS!

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  3. No One Of ConsequenceJune 27, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    Love the voice in Witch Hunters. But the writing in Delicious Vicious Cycles just jumps off the page. At this point it's about the little things.

    Victory to DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES

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  4. OH NO!!!! I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN! Two stories I've voted for are now head to head. Both of these stories have drawn me in from the start. The tweaks and changes you made have made your queries and 250 so strong.

    I had to do the same thing. Flip a coin, best two out of three...

    VICTORY TO ALABAMA WITCH HUNTERS

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  5. Like these both.

    VICTORY TO DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES!!

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  6. Victory to DELICIOUS!

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  7. All the little things count so much at this stage, and I love all the little things in one entry markedly more than another.

    Victory to DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES!

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