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NoQS Minion 1: I'M NOT A ZOMBIE, BUT I PLAY ONE ON TV, MG Humor

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: I’M NOT A ZOMBIE, BUT I PLAY ONE ON TV
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.

Query:

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.


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NoQS Minion 6: THE GIRLFRIEND REQUEST, YA Contemporary

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: THE GIRLFRIEND REQUEST
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. 

Query:

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.


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NoQS Minion 5: CROSSING BRIELLE, YA Urban Fantasy

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: CROSSING BRIELLE
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.

Query:


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.


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

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: WIRED FOR WALL STREET
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. 


Query:

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.


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NoQS Minion 3: PRINCESS NOT SO CHARMING, YA Fantasy

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: PRINCESS NOT SO CHARMING
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.
Query:

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.


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NoQS Minion 2: POPCORN BRAIN, MG Contemporary

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: POPCORN BRAIN
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.

Query:

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.


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

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: POISON APPLES
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. 

Query:

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. 


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NoQS Minion 8: THE TROLL DIARIES, MG Fantasy

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: THE TROLL DIARIES
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.

Query:
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…

Nope.

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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NoQS Minion 7: THE WHITE LEHUA, YA Mystery

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: THE WHITE LEHUA
Genre: YA Mystery
Word Count: 75,000


My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Dr. Stephanie Hanley, M.D., MFCC
New Patient Survey
Patient Name: Claire Wells
Age: 16

What is your greatest fear?
It would probably save time if I said dead people, or funerals, or cops showing up in the middle of the night. But what scares the hell out of me is bugs. Not spiders or whatever. Sure, we’ve got spiders on the island. Spiders as big as your head. But I’m taking about bugs in your code. You know, syntax stuff the compiler won’t catch. And your program will run fine. For a while. But then it will become unpredictable. Unstable. And you’ll have to debug it, which is hard, because the code looks alright. Think bugs aren’t scary? Ask the guys at NASA about the Mars Climate Rover.


Query:

Half-Hawaiian teen Claire Wells spends each summer in the tiny town of Na’Alehu on the southern-most tip of the Big Island. To a tourist, it's paradise.  But for Claire, it means even more. The visits bring her close to her archaeologist grandfather, a professor of Polynesian studies and a master storyteller.

During the rainy season, power outages are common at Hale Moana, their remote, hilltop home. But this time, her grandfather heads out to start the backup generator and doesn’t come back.

When his body is found the next day, floating in Kealakekua Bay, the police say it’s an accident. Claire is convinced otherwise while the rest of the town is convinced she’s crazy.

From a chance encounter at the local diner, Claire stumbles upon her grandfather’s investigation of a mysterious academic research group known as the Cook Monument Foundation. All those years spent as the only girl in Linux Users’ Group finally pay off and Claire puts her hacker skills to work.  Breaking into The Foundation’s computer system, she learns the researchers’ real project is murder.

As Claire pieces the clues together, she unearths the cult behind the group, a bizarre sect dedicated to an ancient ritual of immortality. And just when Claire thinks it can't get any darker, she realizes the groups wants her own blood to complete their human sacrifice.

But it's not all grim. Claire gets a little help from sexy smartass, Sam L’ia, a tough Hawaiian who pledges to protect her. Together, they race to follow up on the clues her grandfather left behind. If they can’t find a way to stop the Foundation, they won’t live long enough to go on a real date.


First 250 words:

Anything tossed into the sea washes up at Ka’u.

This is what my grandfather told me.

I wasn’t tossed into the sea but was still drawn to the island by a force as irresistible as the tide.

On a rainy August day, our plane rolled to a stop in front of Kona’s small airport. My little brother Charles snored in the seat next to mine. I nudged him and he awoke with a loud yawn.

A cheerful flight attendant stepped in front of us as we made our way up the aisle. She gestured to a spot in front of the bathroom and said, “Wait here, kids. As soon as everyone’s off the plane, I’ll walk you down to the terminal.”

I glanced down in irritation at the Unaccompanied Minor badge hanging around my neck. I was sixteen and capable of parking my butt in an airplane seat without special assistance. But Dad thought we needed a babysitter on the flight from Phoenix.

“We’ll be fine,” I told the woman. “My grandfather always meets us at the curb.”

She chewed her thumbnail uncertainly, but taking in the seats covered with unfolded blankets and the awful smell coming from the bathroom, she nodded. “Well, technically you’re old enough to fly alone,” she said. “Okay. Claire Wells. Charles Wells.” She made a checkmark with a flourish next to our names on a form attached to her clipboard.

“Aloha and welcome to Hawaii.”


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NoQS Minion 11: THE GIRL WHO WAS ORDINARY, UNTIL SHE WASN'T, MG Light Sci-Fi

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 25 October 2014 · 0 views

Title: THE GIRL WHO WAS ORDINARY, UNTIL SHE WASN'T
Genre: MG Light Sci-Fi
Word Count: 75,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Despite spending most of her time hanging out with video game addicts and online villains, Jane's biggest fear has always been her parents. Oh, they're not cruel or hateful, or anything like that. But they won't rest until they see their daughter change from a shy, ordinary girl to... something extraordinary. When Jane was a child, they terrorized her with blue hair dye, live exotic animals and unwanted piano lessons. As a teenager, they're taking her out of her comfortable private school and throwing her into the horrors of public school. And that's plenty scary.

Query:

Fifteen-year-old Jane Hale has two hundred and eighty three days left to do something extraordinary, or she’ll need to find herself a new set of parents. She doesn't have to save the world or anything, mind you, but if she doesn't give the Hales at least one interesting story to share with their relatives, they’re cutting their losses and trading her in for a less-boring daughter.

Luckily for Jane, "interesting" is what her new friend Billy does best. He’s an awkward hug away from admitting he’s her boyfriend; unfortunately, he’s also addicted to a virtual reality world that’s being terrorized by a villain run amok. It’s simple, really; all Jane has to do is infiltrate the virtual world as Billy's spy, to help him apprehend the fiend. In exchange, Billy promises a much-needed new identity.

Things get considerably less simple when Jane fails in her task . . . and accidentally starts a virtual war in the process. She needs Billy’s help to set things straight, which is rather inconvenient, as he’s managed to disappear from both worlds when things are at their worst. Desperate, Jane must go offline, teaming up with the hated villain on an international mission to bring Billy home. Along the way, they discover a chilling secret about the virtual world she’s come to love. 


And she’ll have just one chance to rescue her boyfriend, save her world, and figure out if being ordinary is really so bad after all. 

First 250 Words:

There was absolutely nothing special about Jane.

Jane Hale was as ordinary as could be, from her mouse-brown hair to the toes of her plain canvas shoes. She never took home an A+ from school, never scored the winning goal, never went to the big parties and never even tried to disobey her parents. Of course, the Hales were always there, from her not-so-terrible twos, right up to her not-so-troublesome pre-teen years, reminding her of what a special little girl she was. Mr. and Mrs. Hale beamed and coaxed and fussed, and they always claimed to take pride in their daughter’s overwhelmingly dull life.

They lied.

For years, Mr. and Mrs. Hale fought off tears of boredom every time they thought about Jane. And so they tried desperately to change their daughter’s ways. They signed her up for music lessons (she could almost play the piano), bought her exotic pets (she was afraid of all of them) and even enrolled her in private school (the addition of a school uniform only made her more difficult to locate in a crowd). It was no use. Jane’s blandness defied them year after year.

But this year was going to be different.

At precisely 8:00 AM on the morning of September the 4th, Jane’s bedroom door swung open and Jane skidded out into the hallway, tugging at her pleated skirt and pulling up her knee-high socks. Can’t be late, she thought to herself as she raced across the purple hardwood floor toward the stairs. Oh no, oh, no, oh no.


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