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Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details


Getting the Call with Tasha Cotter

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 30 October 2014 · 21 views

I'm happy to have Tasha Cotter here to provide inspiration right before the big agent round starts for Nightmare on Query Street! From poet to commercial writer. You need an agent in your corner.

There are a lot of things I never realized back in my MFA days. For one thing, I didn’t understand what an agent actually did (no one talked about agents), and I certainly didn’t know when you might need one (if you plan to query commercial projects) and when you don’t need one (looking at you, Poets). It was only after I got an MFA in Creative Writing that I began to shift from poetry to fiction. And after checking out lots of library books and reading lots of blogs I began to sort of connect the dots: Agents are there to serve writers. They help writers get a foot in the door. They are deal-makers. They are an advocate for the author.

I got my first agent at a young age, and the experience didn’t go so well. It did, at first. I was told my work was great. I was informed that editors were reading my work and they were very interested (whatever that meant). I was told a lot of things. Years passed and I began to feel like the relationship was not working the way it needed to: there were too many unanswered questions. I was in the dark a lot, and getting no feedback on my work (editorial, or otherwise). Looking back, I was young and naïve and I didn’t know what was to be expected and what wasn’t. In the end, I had to part ways with that agent, which was a very scary experience, but, looking back, a necessary one.

I decided to venture into the publishing world on my own. I discovered that there were lots of indie presses and open calls for new work. If you were writing fiction, especially literary fiction, you could get your work read by small-to-medium sized indie publishers. But in order to get a more commercial project looked at by a big house, you still needed an agent.

I felt a little burned by my whole experience with an agent, to be honest, so I didn’t look for another one right away.  I focused on my writing. I did a lot of online research and reading about the publishing industry. I began to query for a book I co-wrote with my friend Christopher Green. The book, Us, in Pieces, began as an idea back in 2010 and it was completed in 2011. We’d been continuing to work on it over the last few years and I knew the book was something special. We kept the most up-to-date version in Google Drive, and continued thinking about the book, re-writing sections, and emailing each other about the book. Each time I opened the manuscript I began to feel like it needed to be out there, circulating. It felt like the most wonderful secret. Us, in Pieces is a love story across time. It’s a novel-in-letters (and e-mails, and text messages, and chats). It’s a whip-smart love story born out of silence that follows two old friends into the unforgiving and wild terrain of the heart.

I began to send the book out. At one point I think I emailed Chris to say, hey, here’s a list of where I’ve sent our book!  

There was some initial interest. One agent in particular seemed to match our level of passion about the project. Her name was Alice Speilburg. I found out about her from a friend. She opened her literary agency, Speilburg Literary in Louisville, Kentucky in 2012. After reading her website, I liked what I saw. I also liked that she clearly had placed books, and had a background in the business.

After sending her a partial, she got back to me almost right away that she’d like to read the full manuscript. I sent it to her immediately, then waited.

A little over two weeks later I got an email from her that began: I love this story.

I was eating lunch at the time, squinting to read the email on my phone. After rereading her email, I got up and threw away my lunch, half-eaten. I was grinning from ear to ear, stunned. I re-read her email again then forwarded it onto Chris. I loved how interested she seemed. I could sense her passion for the project right away and I appreciated her observations about the manuscript. It was clear that she had experience in the industry and saw a lot of potential in the book.

Two days later I spoke to her on the phone and after talking for about thirty minutes she offered representation. I loved how open and transparent she was about how she works. She knew I’d had a bad experience in the past and she was willing to be detailed about how she worked, how she preferred to communicate, and what I could expect if we were to work together.

The tricky thing about working on a collaborative project, and then shopping the project to agents, is that there has to be an open line of communication. I knew Chris had started querying agents himself, so I sent an email to Chris letting him know about the discussion and letting him know that he’d likely be getting a call from her, too. Since he didn’t have an agent, she may be offering him representation, as well.

It was a good day. Scratch that. It was a very good day.


Tasha Cotter's first full-length collection of poetry, Some Churches, was released in 2013 with Gold Wake Press. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in journals such as Contrary Magazine, NANO fiction, and Booth. Her debut novel, Red Carpet Day Job, is forthcoming in 2015 with Bookfish Books. A graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Writers Studio, she lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where she works in higher education.




  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 28 October 2014 · 40 views


Are you guys excited? BECAUSE WE ARE!!

Below this post, you'll find the thirteen Minions I picked for my team! 

You can head over to SC's and Mike's blogs as well. (But don't worry, Minions will take no prisoners!) 

Sorry everyone, but no commenting, cheerleading, etc. Only agents will be able to comment.



CHEER OVER ON TWITTER! We're going to be under the hashtag #NoQS and we will be having FUN. 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.

I'll be looking for all my Minions there. Don't disappoint me. 

For the next two 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 peruse.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!! Hope you all get a ton of frighteningly amazing requests!

And remember: Minions Rule!




  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 22 views

Genre: MG Humorous Contemporary
Word Count: 30,000

My Main Character’s Most Fearsome Obstacle:

I thought my worst fear was being covered in cold, limp spaghetti, but I’d gladly swim in an Olympic-sized pool of the stuff to escape the nightmare that is this zombie sitcom. Eating brains and eyeballs is nothing compared to dealing with a demonic director, a humiliating stage dad, and a rabid, rival kid star. Being undead is killing me.


When Marty Ruckers' dad loses his job as a high school drama teacher, the extremely squeamish sixth-grader auditions for a Crunchy Clowns cereal commercial to help pay the bills.  Instead, as if by some cruel cosmic joke, he's tapped for a starring role in the new zombie sitcom, Z Street.

With foreclosure on his family's home looming, Marty reluctantly takes the gig. Now the kid who can't swallow soggy cereal has to train himself to stomach intestines without hurling every take. But Marty has headaches bigger than scrambled brains for breakfast, including an obnoxious stage dad, a drill sergeant director, and a rival veteran kid actor, who sabotages all Marty's scenes. Marty's not sure he can adjust to life as a big star. In fact, being undead just might kill him.

First 250 Words:                                                                                               

Only three things grossed out Marty Ruckers: uncrispified food, guts, and girls. And no girl grossed him out worse than his kid sister, Prunie. Especially when she sucked pureed prunes through a straw, like she did right now.

“Dad, can’t you make her stop?” Marty begged, cutting his dry toast in half. “You know I can’t eat when she slurps prunes.”

Prunie grinned and took an extra slurpy suck. She may have been only three and three-quarters, but she knew exactly how to make Marty mad. In fact, she was an expert at it.

Marty’s dad looked up from his crossword in the California Sunny Times and said what he said every morning at breakfast. “Martin, you know your sister has preferences, just like you.”

“Yes,” added Marty’s mom, opening the jelly. “You like your food dry and crunchy, and she likes hers . . . pruny.”

Staring at his paper again, Marty’s dad said, “Hmm. I need a three letter word for ‘retch.’”

Marty sighed. It was true; Prunie had been prune-crazy ever since she was a baby. His parents finally limited prunes to one meal a day to save on toilet paper.

He, on the other hand, was the king of crunch; slick, slimy food made him puke. And Marty could think of nothing (short of being covered in cold, limp spaghetti) that he dreaded more than puking.

He grabbed a handful of dry, Crunchy Clowns cereal and ate it, one clown head at a time.

“Have you tried ‘gag,’ sweetie?” his mom suggested.



NoQS Minion 6: THE GIRLFRIEND REQUEST, YA Contemporary

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 11 views

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 69,000 

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle: Emma’s most fearsome obstacle is herself. Her fear of opening up causes her to weave a web of subterfuge and deceit that nearly costs her the very thing she values most—her best friend. And it doesn't help that it's totally embarrassing in the process. Being sixteen can sure be a nightmare sometimes, Freddy Krueger’s got nothing on high school. 


Sixteen-year-old Emma has been best friends with Eli since she moved to their neighborhood ten years ago. But she’s tired of being cast in the role of the girl next door. Determined to push their relationship beyond the friend zone, Emma creates a fake online profile in the hope of luring Eli in and writing her own happily ever after.  With one click, she takes destiny into her own hands. 

When Eli takes the bait, Emma decides to reel him in by convincing super sweet college guy Jake to pretend to date her. After all, you always want what you can’t have. But when Emma’s cover is blown, she finds herself facing a decision she never thought possible.  Eli’s actually got feelings for her – the real her – and so does Jake. All Emma wanted was her first kiss with the guy of her dreams, but now she's no longer sure who he is. 

Emma must search her heart to find out if she trusts that Eli wasn't just swayed by the new, shiny girl she showed him through the fake profile, or decide if it’s time she wrote a different ending to her fairytale, one without the boy next door.

First 250:

He had 247 friends.  

Now to add one more to the list.  

“It’ll work. You can do this.” I chanted encouragement to myself while the mouse hovered over the photo of a smiling, perky-looking teenage girl. I ignored the small beads of sweat forming at my hairline as I stared at the photo taunting me from the screen of my Dell. 

 The girl’s shiny blonde hair flowed over sun-kissed shoulders peeking out of a cutesy white sundress. Who the hell had hair like that unless she’s in a hot pink package and distributed by Mattel? 

 Okay, fine. I might be the slightest bit jealous, considering I was about as un-Barbie as you could get. To make it worse, the girl looked like she’d been born to star in one of those Abercrombie ads where the models always wore perfectly coordinated outfits, and actually had the bod to fill in the cute little shirts instead of looking like a walking ironing board.

My gaze bounced over to the second profile I’d opened. Just looking at his face grinning back at me caused my pulse to speed up. Like usual. 

A quick knock sounded on my bedroom door. Startled, I immediately hit the minimize button and turned the laptop screen just in time to see Dad poke his head in the room.  

“Hey, Emma! How’s the project coming along?” 

I swallowed. He wasn't supposed to be home so soon. “Ahhh...just finishing up.” I hid my guilty expression behind what probably came across as a pained,I have gas, smile.



NoQS Minion 5: CROSSING BRIELLE, YA Urban Fantasy

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 21 views

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 64,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Cross and Brielle's most fearsome obstacle is family. Abandoned at her slayer camp as a child, Cross has never known a real family until visiting Brielle's world. Brielle loves her family with all of herself and she'd do anything to protect them, even keeping the effects of her fantasy a secret. Discovering her dad faked his death so he could complete his evil plan of species annihilation broke not only Brielle, but Cross' heart too. But if they work together to survive his betrayal, they can build a new family joining both worlds forever.


Sixteen-year-old bookworm Brielle daydreams a fantasy world to escape life after her dad's death. As her doppelganger, Cross, she's killed deadly creatures and even the occasional Hoover vacuum. But when unexplained bruises appear on her body, she's terrified the fantasy isn't just in her mind.

Cross tries to hide strange visions of her other life as Brielle: nerdy teen girl living in a colorful world of dull happiness. Being a klutz won't cost Cross her job, but another vision will. Her shrink says it's her way of coping with slaying the humanoid beings known as moths and butterflies, but Cross has experienced enough to see through the lie.

After waking up in each other's' worlds, Brielle and Cross realize they're one in the same. Unsure what else to do, they live one another’s lives. Soon they’re tangled in a mystery involving the mythical bridge between their parallel universes and a handsome butterfly Cross was charged to kill.

The more they discover, the more it becomes clear: someone wants them both dead—and the butterfly is the only one who knows why. Now they must find out who’s trying to destroy them before the bridge comes crashing down.

CROSSING BRIELLE is a YA urban fantasy told in dual POV. It's complete at 64,000 words.

First 250 Words:

Cross slinked through the alley tracking her prey. Liquid-gold light illuminated the path just enough to guide her. Foot firmly placed on a dumpster that smelled like rotting tuna, she pushed up. The squeak came a second before the trashbin shifted under her. Before she could react, Cross tumbled forward and slammed to the grungy alley floor.

“Ack!” Cross bolted back to her feet, head darting from side to side. Good. No gawkers this time so no need to mention it in the report, she thought as she stared daggers at the faulty wheel that'd brought her down.

She checked her sword then tried again. This time she propelled herself up to her post on top of the rundown apartments. Sweat dripped from her brow, but Cross refused to acknowledge it. Spring wasn’t always so hot, but right then she felt like she was kneeling in a desert instead of a tar roof in Nashville.

Any day now. She surveyed the landscape. People zigzagged through the rubble-filled streets, ignorant of the killer in their midst. Daniel was somewhere among them, working his way toward her through the decay. She was sure of it. He wouldn't pass up the chance to say a twisted hello to his victim.

To the untrained eye he looked like a normal human—six feet tall and two hundred pounds of pure muscle. But Cross knew the monster lurking beneath his skin. All of her jobs were dangerous, but Daniel was the most vicious type of moth―a cinnabar.



NoQS Minion 4: WIRED FOR WALL STREET, Woman's Fiction

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 24 views

Genre: Women's Fiction
Word Count: 100,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Adelaide Taggart’s terrified of the spotlight. That’s a big problem because she was born into a family of Mummer’s who live and die to strut down Broad Street on New Year’s – in the spotlight. In order to avoid exile from South Philly, every January 1st, she downs whiskey for courage, steps into a sequined costume that would make Mardi Gras masters jealous and tries to parade like she means it. And every year, while her family and friends party it up, Adelaide prays to the glitter gods that she won’t puke at the judges stand. 


South Philly: Home to cheesesteaks, big hair, and Adelaide Taggart – a feisty electrician who’s known as the best cat burglar in town. Trouble is her small-time gig won’t cover her big-time family medical bills. Adelaide needs cash fast and so she bluffs her way into a job at the richest investment bank in Philadelphia. After all, like Willie Sutton said, that’s where the money is.

When Adelaide lands her first deal with a Swiss conglomerate she thinks she’s made it – until she discovers the company in Geneva is a front. Even worse, her boss is willing to pay her $4 million to look the other way. Before Adelaide even decides if she’ll take it or leave it, the FBI comes knocking on her door.

Desperate for a way out, and stuck in Switzerland, Adelaide discovers the evidence she needs to clear her name is sitting in a vault as secure as Fort Knox and she can’t break in on her own. Enter Rusty Lang, Adelaide’s old partner. If any team can hack a world-class security perimeter, it’s them. As electricians they’ve built half a dozen but getting caught in Geneva means landing six feet under. Fear has both their heads spinning. Add in the sparks between them and neither one can think straight. And while no self respecting woman from South Philly would ever turn herself in, being behind bars beats an early grave and it’s time to weigh her options.   

First 250 Words:

To pull this off, I needed to go big and make the show convincing. I rummaged through my briefcase pretending to search for ID. I clanged a lipstick and pen together, rifled copies of my resume and tried to channel my panic to look like frustration. Business school identification was a request I wasn’t prepared to dodge. My hands shook and caught the price tag I’d left hidden. The briefcase had to go back if I didn’t get the job, and that tag dangled like an omen I didn’t need telling me I was flailing. “Damn it.”

“Ms. Taggart, I don’t have all day,” the receptionist poked.

A Fortman Brothers Bank badge identified her as Jeanette Ryan. Her obsidian hair twisted into a bun that wrenched up her forehead. My ankles wobbled. Jeanette’s eyes narrowed. Could she smell the lies? Either way, I wouldn’t back down. For the first time I stood in the Rittenhouse Suite, in Philadelphia’s finest hotel, without a tool box. I had to make it past the gatekeeper.

I collapsed my chest with a sigh. “I must have left it at home?”

           Jeanette raked her eyes over me, took inventory. My suit had a polyester sheen. It was too small – borrowed. I didn’t have jewelry and I folded my fingertips, hoping she wouldn’t notice my stained nails. Not even polish could cover all that grease.

A grandfather clock behind the desk ticked, tocked. The hour hand slid to the five, and bells too loud for the room startled me.




  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 32 views

Genre: YA fantasy
Word count: 75,000

My Main Character’s Most Fearsome Obstacle

Keira’s most fearsome obstacle is her own memory. She’s not sure she wants to find out who she used to be. If she really did kill three sorcerers, she’s content to live without her lost memories. But if she’s innocent, maybe she can clear her name and stop the real murderer before they kill again. It’s a big maybe, though, and nobody but her boyfriend Lochlan understands the real repercussions of her decision. He and Keira realize that if she gets her memories back, she might remember murdering Lochlan’s parents, and she can’t live with that.

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Keira would trade her soul for a coffee IV. She hasn’t slept in ages, thanks to her constant nightmares. If only the dreams of blood-filled canals and burned villages were the stuff of adolescent fears, she’d be fine. But they’re memories of a forgotten past, and she might never be okay again.

Things only get worse when she stumbles across an oddly familiar book of spells in her attic and it opens a portal that pulls her into Fian, a world where time stands still under a powerful but unstable curse. Stranded, she can only sit back and watch as the curse literally tears the world – and her only hope of ever returning to Connecticut – apart.

After almost being sold into slavery with her only friend – a dog turned cute sorcerer, Lochlan – Keira escapes and learns the truth she’s been seeking: her identity, and the real reason behind her nightmares. She’s the princess of Edamar, missing for over fifty years. Unfortunately, she has little time to revel in her impeccable genes and lack of wrinkles. Turns out she’s also the suspect in the deaths of three people, and the most hated person in all of Fian.

But Keira knows she didn’t commit those murders, even if she did run away years ago. There must be another explanation for why she abandoned everyone she ever loved. With Lochlan’s help, it’s up to her to unlock her memories and shatter the curse before the land of Fian falls away into nothingness.
First 250 words

It’s been sixty-two hours since I last slept. Or maybe it’s seventy-two. I can’t remember. Insomnia does that to you. It also messes with your vision, making it hard to do simple things like insert a key into a lock.

The fools behind me whoop and holler when the key finally slips into place and the door bursts open. Energized by the promise of a night full of adult-free fun, they surge forward, pushing against me until I fall forward onto our pool house floor. Lizzy, my best friend, pulls me to safety before the masses trample me on their way in.

“Keira. There are like, a hundred people here,” she says, chewing her bottom lip. “There aren’t even this many people in our class!”

“Relax, it’s going to be great. No, not just great. Epic!” I shout, and the partiers all cheer in response. Drunk people get excited about everything.

Some guy grabs Mom’s antique crystal decanters off the bar and starts handing out shots. I pass mine to someone else. Alcohol makes me tired, and that’s the last thing I want.

The speakers blare to life, pumping eighties music into the crowded room and officially starting the party. I sway with the beat, comforted by the knowledge that the fifty other bodies pressing around me will keep my nightmares at bay.

I never wanted the party to get this big, but if I shut it down now, I’ll be left to face the night alone.



NoQS Minion 2: POPCORN BRAIN, MG Contemporary

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 23 views

Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 40,000

My Main Character’s Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Dodging the local scum, feeling queasy around girls, combating his teacher and her nasty breath—Royal can handle them all. But seeing his father’s self-destructive behavior and now questioning his own sanity, Royal fears if he doesn’t do something to prove his worth, something big, he will continue the legacy his dad has set. And not the good one of Royal’s earlier childhood which fills him with hope when he has nothing to eat, but the dark one that sucked his family into ruin.

Royal is scared to death he’ll become a loser.


Royal Crown knows he can get a bit … overzealous. Who can blame him? With numbers bouncing through his brain like a supercomputer, the boy is anything but calm. And when you factor in negligent parents who drag him from one run-down home to the next—acting “normal” isn’t always in the equation.

After moving yet again, Royal lands in Mrs. Snyder’s 5th grade class—a place brain cells go to die. Unable to see past Royal’s genius antics, Mrs. Snyder labels him as another troublemaker from a dysfunctional family and, with threats of suspension, steamrolls his mother into placing him on behavioral medication.

Humiliated that he has to take “the zombie pill” and eager to prove his worth, Royal enters Number Force, a national online math tournament, and blasts his way through the rankings. Yet, as the pressure mounts and the title dangles just within his reach, Royal discovers that playing the game is only part of his battle. Facing cheating accusations, elimination, and discrimination, Royal must decide to accept his lot in life and surrender quietly … or step up and fight back.

First 250 words:

A Bright Mind Is An Active Mind—Einstein Elementary’s motto hung under a poster of Albert Einstein on the back wall of room 501. Royal Crown wadded a scrap of paper in his mouth, spit it into his hand, and grinned up at his wild-haired hero.

“Don’t you worry about me, Einstein. I got it covered.”

He checked the calendar: November 18th. As of this moment, he had been in his new school for exactly 22-and-a-half days—180 hours—10,800 minutes—648,000 seconds—and he had yet to learn anything new.

Royal propped up his math book on the outside edge of his desk like an invisibility shield and placed his origami battle tank behind it, hiding it from view. Just a few more touches—game on!

Twenty feet ahead, Mrs. Snyder clicked the iPad on her teaching stand, projecting the day’s vocabulary word on the board.

Integers: Positive and negative whole numbers.

“Number lines,” Royal said under his breath. “Got it.”

He slipped a pen out of his desk and removed the ink cartridge and spring. Then he placed both parts inside the barrel of his tank and topped them with a spitball.

After a quick glance to make sure Mrs. Snyder wasn’t looking, he pulled the spring back with his right hand, held the ink cartridge with his left, and let it go. The spring shot forward, blasting the tiny paper cannonball up into the air and then down to his tattered sneakers.

“Perfect,” he whispered.



NoQS Minion 9: POISON APPLES, YA cont with Magical Realism

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 11 views

Genre: YA contemporary with magical realism
Word count: 68,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

For Bianca Snow, the truth is the Grand Canyon of obstacles—terrifying, and almost impossible to avoid. Snow can’t let her classmates notice the animals that follow her everywhere—school included. It’s not like Doctor DoLittle got a date to the prom. 


Sixteen-year old Bianca Snow has a hot boyfriend, a thriving social life and a pesky habit of attracting wildlife that’s poised to ruin everything. The clusters of animals that follow her everywhere might be cute in animation—in high school, they’re humiliating. 

When an affectionate family of opossums overtly trails Snow during a class camping trip, her embarrassed boyfriend dumps her and her social status plunges. Vowing to escape the social exile that follows, Snow enters the high school talent show, sure her beautiful singing voice can distract the school—and her ex—from her less conventional talent. But when the show brings her close to Will DeMarche, a kind and handsome cello-playing senior, Snow wishes her voice could win Will instead.

Then Will’s youngest brother goes missing. If Snow keeps quiet, she can win the talent show and her old life back. Or she can ask the animals to find the little boy, and prove to the school—and Will—she’s exactly the freak they imagine.  

First 250 Words:

You can’t kill someone at a bake sale. Death and dessert don’t mix. But as the too-blonde curls and too-tight shirt leaned closer to my boyfriend—ex-boyfriend—than cupcake sales required, the prohibition crumbled. With every giggle, Josie Connor was killing me.

I slumped against the metal chair and glared futile daggers from behind the streamer-lined table. No amount of crepe paper could dress up this disaster. Beside me, ever-loyal Mari skimmed a cookie and passed me half, her thin fingers amber against my ivory skin. Under the glare of the gym lights, I looked even paler than usual. Nothing like tan, blonde, bouncy-boobed Josie.

I chomped down on the cookie as if it had decimated my love life. “How can she flirt so blatantly? She knows how much I like Lance. She knows how good we are together.”

Mari’s hand stalled a few inches shy of her mouth. “Were together. Past tense.”

I didn’t answer. As usual, Mari was right—technically Lance had dumped me on an unfortunately well-attended camping trip. But we were the real deal. Or had been. One miserable evening shouldn’t erase everything.

I fixed my eyes on the travesty across the gym and shoved the last bit of cookie into my mouth. Peanut butter? Butterscotch? Halfway through a bake sale, the flavors ran together.

Mari wiped crumbs from her hands, blocking my view of Josie’s shampoo-commercial hair. “Snow, you realize it’s over, right?”

I broke another cookie. 



NoQS Minion 8: THE TROLL DIARIES, MG Fantasy

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 9 views

Genre: Upper MG Fantasy
Word Count: 51,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle: 
River's most fearsome obstacle? Basically the entire forest, because everything in it is trying to kill, eat, maim, or generally annoy him... except for the mushrooms. He has to survive a vengeful troll cousin who would like him dead, fanged fairies that want him turned to stone, hungry goblins that love troll-on-a-stick, and giant Venus Firefly traps that will eat anyone and everything they can get their toothy petals around. And then there’s the massive sleeping dragon that could destroy them all.

Twelve-year-old River is a veggie-loving troll whom some have even dared to call… symmetrical. He spends his days dodging rabid forest gnomes, avoiding the deadly sunlight (because really, who wants to turn to stone?), and trying not to disappoint his father, the mighty bone-bread-loving Troll King.

When fairies threaten the troll border, River is entrusted with a dangerous spy mission, finally giving him the chance to make his father proud. Too bad he gets caught in a fairy trap. By a fairy girl. Instead of a slow death, she gives River the painful truth at the point of a sparkly dagger: he isn’t a troll. He’s a fairy. Unfortunately, that places him at the top of his family’s dinner menu (and he thought being a misfit was bad).

River finds unexpected acceptance in the fairy kingdom, along with a heritage of magic. Still, part of him longs for home, and he searches out the fairies’ secrets, becoming the spy his father always wanted. When he discovers the source of their wealth and magic—a dragon hidden deep beneath the kingdom—he faces a difficult decision: betray his new friends in order to help his family and please his father, or turn his back on the only family he’s ever known and keep from everyone his knowledge of the fiery beast that could obliterate them.  

First 250:

I always knew mushrooms would be the death of me.
I can’t resist them and my cousin Rot knows it. Juicy blackberries, wild onions, or any other tempting forest delicacy, I can pass up. Mushrooms? No way.

And the worst part? I didn’t even taste them before Rot and his cronies waylaid me. Not a lick.
I mean, yes, it’s bad that I’m hanging-upside down from a tree, but I can get over that. What I can’t get over are the fungi scattered on the ground beneath me, their perfect white skins marred by the scuffle only moments ago.

Looking back, maybe I was too obvious in my search for a meal. Trolls don’t exactly forage from the forest floor, so I was probably asking for trouble. Yes, trolls; nasty, ugly creatures that live in caves, guard bridges, and grind bones to make bread. Well, it’s what the other trolls do when they’re not torturing me. 

I’m kidding.

Sort of.           

Even the trees are laughing at me, the scratchy, rubbing bark echoing the grumbling laughter of my captors below. A strong gust gives me a boost and I start swinging. I stretch my bound hands up to the vine holding my feet. If I can just… reach…


If I was big like other trolls, this slender tree wouldn’t even be able to hold me. But I’m not. I guess you could call me the black sheep of the family. Maybe not a sheep though, since my family eats those…


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