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SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter


Happy Happy Halloween!

  Posted by SC_Author , 31 October 2014 · 13 views


Make sure to have a spooky awesome amazing time! I'm going to dress up as a Hufflepuff this Halloween. They're under-appreciated and few people see their true awesomeness. 

How about you? Costume ideas? You? Your kids?



Nightmare on Query Street has BEGUN! Agents, Welcome!

  Posted by SC_Author , 28 October 2014 · 35 views


Are you guys excited? BECAUSE WE ARE!!

Below this post, you'll find the thirteen Spooks I picked with the help of the amazing slush readers, Laura and Nicole. 

You can head over to Michelle's and Mike's blogs as well. (But why would you, when we Spooks are obviously the best?)

Sorry everyone, but no commenting, cheerleading, etc. (I've deleted the few comments that have been made.) 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.

Spooks, we all have to gather and annihilate the Minions and Monsters (both start with M, how boring).

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.

Agents, in your comments, be sure to include any other material you'd like to see (like a synopsis) and any unique email address you'd like the submission to be sent to.

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!

Once a Spook, always a Spook!



Read over your NoQS!

  Posted by SC_Author , 25 October 2014 · 44 views

The Spooks from Nightmare on Query Street are posted below! DRINK IN THEIR AWESOMENESS.

(Spooks, this is actually for you. Contact me, comment below, Tweet me, etc. to let me know of any formatting errors on my part!)



NoQS Spooks 8: JACKED, NA Contemporary

  Posted by SC_Author , 25 October 2014 · 11 views

Genre: NA Contemporary
Word Count: 57,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

The only thing worse than callin’ Casey when I was drunk is the possibility that Mom found out about it. I wish I could remember what I said and who was in the room. I was an idiot for dialin’ the number at all. The last thing I need is for somethin’ stupid to happen that causes Mom to find her way back to the hospital. I can’t keep bein’ the reason she wants to kill herself. And what if bein’ myself causes someone else to pull a stunt like hers?


Jack's freshman year of college was supposed to be an escape from his parochial, poverty-stricken hometown in Appalachia. That is, until his mom tried to commit suicide right before the start of the first semester. If she hadn’t found him in bed with Casey—the only boy from home who ever came close to understanding him—Jack could’ve left town and never looked back.

Fitting in with strange people in a college town is easier said than done when faced with Mom’s constant reminders of his sinful habits and selfish decisions. It doesn’t help that Jack hasn’t slept since his mom kicked him out of her room at the psychiatric clinic, or that Casey hasn’t returned any of his calls since the “incident.” No, college isn't quite the escape Jack had imagined.

Feeling overwhelmed by familial guilt, and desperately trying to understand why he needs a guy who’s too stubborn to open up about what he wants, Jack finds that his mental state is heading in the same direction as his mom’s. The lower his self-esteem gets, the harder it becomes to fight off the pills calling his name. Jack must learn to set boundaries between the life he’s been dealt and the life he wants before he can patch up the situation with his mom and win back the boy he might love.

First 250 words:

I wouldn’t have recognized Mom if a nurse hadn’t led me to her room.

The first thing I noticed was her head. Her bushy hair was haphazard and choppy, like a careless nurse had thrown a chainsaw in her general direction. Her neck was kinked to the side, and her tongue sagged out of her mouth as she snored. Wrists cuffed to the bed, her once-long fingernails were clipped and filed down. The sheet was tangled ’round her ankles like she’d tried to kick it off before the drugs took effect. And don’t get me started on the gauze coverin’ her left forearm.

She wasn’t goin’ anywhere.

I stared through the glass door leadin’ to Mom’s room. The nurse said I’d be allowed in when she was more responsive, probably in a couple days. God, I wouldn’t’ve wanted to talk to her even if I was allowed. I could already hear the conversation: “Hi Mom, how’s it goin’?” “What do you care, Jack?” “Nice talkin’ to you too, Mom.”

I helped myself to the coffee and Styrofoam cups at the end of the hall, even though I wasn’t sure if they were free. I paced in front of Mom’s glass door, waitin’ for my coffee to cool and grumblin’ about how the nurses weren’t nice enough to offer me a chair. It wasn’t long before I realized I didn’t need to linger—if I wasn’t allowed inside, there was no reason to stare at mom’s patchwork head and dried-up tongue.




  Posted by SC_Author , 25 October 2014 · 22 views

NA Science Fiction
Word Count
: 71,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Lucy fears everyone. A biker in the canyon, two middle-aged women out for a run, the homeless man chanting incoherent nursery rhymes. She hides in a maze of San Diego canyons because she can’t be seen by anyone wearing spex. And in the near future, the thought-activated eyewear are as common as smart phones. The mysterious hacker chasing Lucy can access the minds of those wearing spex. If he finds her, he’ll erase her memories. If she doesn’t find him--and stop him--no one will know that minds can be hacked and lives rewritten.


When college freshman Lucy Campbell makes a fool of herself in front of her long-time crush, Marco Han, she wishes she could erase the whole episode from his brilliant mind. She’s shocked to learn that her older sister can do just that.

Mollie, a stay-at-home mom who once hacked for the government, tells Lucy that she’s found a way to delete people’s memories via spex, the thought-activated successor to Google Glass. But when she breaks into Marco’s mind, Mollie decides not to erase any embarrassing moments because he already has a crush on Lucy. Encouraged by her sister’s discovery, Lucy stops avoiding Marco. Soon, the two are dating; and Marco, a tech guru in his own right, elevates Mollie’s mindhacking from a guilty pleasure to an efficient crime-solving tool.

As the three infiltrate more minds, they realize they’re not the only ones who can steal memories. Marco suddenly forgets Lucy; and Mollie forgets that she could ever mindhack. Lucy’s mind should be safe because she doesn’t wear spex. But when the mysterious hacker comes after in person, Lucy must make a choice. She can give up her memories and continue to live in comfort and safety. Or, she can save the knowledge that minds can be hacked, and run for her life.

First 250 words:

There’s a thin line between having a crush and stalking; and Lucy wasn’t sure if she’d crossed it. She lay flat on her tummy on the hand-stitched quilt her mom sent with her to college. Her blue eyes peered over the book she was supposed to be reading. A lanky young man with wavy black hair unlocked his bike outside the computer science building. Marco Han. The reason this sunny scrap of lawn was her place to study. He hopped on his bike and rode the opposite direction. Lucy returned to her book, Walden, certain its author wouldn’t approve of her spying.

“I always know where to find you on a Thursday afternoon.” Karen sat down next to her. “How’s the view?”

“He just left. I barely saw him.”

“Bad day for stalking, huh?” Karen wore peacock blue spex. The frames matched the colored streak in her blond pixie-cut hair.

“It’s not stalking,” Lucy laughed at herself. “It’s caring.”

“Well, you obviously don’t care enough. If you were a true stalker you’d take his class. That way you’d have to sit in the front row and gawk at him twice a week, like the rest of us.”

Lucy pulled herself up off her stomach, a somewhat tricky maneuver since she was wearing a yellow sundress. “Can you see me in computer science?” She smoothed her skirt, the ruffled hem fell above her freckled knees. “I’d be the only one in class without spex,”

“Sweetie, you’re the only one on campus without spex.”



NoQS Spooks 10: THICKER THAN WATER, Adult Historical Fiction

  Posted by SC_Author , 25 October 2014 · 30 views

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Word Count: 90,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Evelyn Carmichael wants all eyes to be on her. To be seductive and adored, Rita Hayworth-style. If her rural hometown wasn’t so uptight, Evelyn might have become a movie star herself. Since she’s stuck in tiny Eaton Springs, she sets her sights on achieving fame and admiration from the local men. But eligible bachelors are dying at the war front, and that frightens Evelyn. With fewer respectable, Midwestern men available, she cannot shake her fear of being unhappy, alone, and ignored. Because what’s more terrifying than being a single woman wasting her beauty on cripples and dairy cows?


In the wake of the second world war, the small town of Eaton Springs is bending beneath the pressures of food rations, low morale, and losing their men to the war in Europe. But the watchful town is focused instead on the Carmichael sisters, who are fighting a different sort of battle: one inside the home.

Boy-crazy Evelyn Carmichael longs for a man in uniform, but is forced to settle for Harvey, the sincere, asthmatic boy-next-door. As Evelyn struggles to settle into her new role as a married woman, she finds it difficult to live a picture-show perfect life.

Meanwhile, shy, anxiety-ridden Clara Carmichael is the opposite of her charismatic older sister—she simply wants everyone to get along. As Clara battles with depression, she moves in with the newlyweds. But getting along with Evelyn proves difficult as Clara finds herself slowly falling for Harvey.

When Evelyn is charmed by a wounded war hero and becomes pregnant with his child, the sisters’ lives are blown apart. Evelyn is forced to choose between her uniformed fella or her life with Harvey. Clara, too, must decide where her loyalties lie: with her self-absorbed sister, or her sweet brother-in-law. Both sisters know they will have to live with their decisions within the conservative confines of their community, but how can they turn their backs on love?

As the Carmichael sisters’ drama unfolds, the same question is on both of their minds: is blood thicker than water?

First 250 words:

Evelyn Carmichael liked to dig her fingers deep into the penny candy bins at D’Antonio’s Sweet Shoppe. To feel the crinkle of the wrappers in her hands, the sweets filling her palms. The candy store was no bigger than the nearby tailor shop, but it was filled with every kind of sweet treat imaginable. Evelyn normally chose the candies with the liquid centers—strawberry was her favorite—but every so often she bought anise or horehound and tried to trick her siblings into eating it.

Evelyn was knuckle-deep in a mound of root beer barrels when she spotted Peter Mayes. It was just Evelyn’s luck that she would run into Peter on an afternoon when she’d forgotten to swipe a coat of red lipstick over her too-thin lips. Peter was behind the register, pulling the crank handle with a satisfying ching! that clanged throughout the small store. She couldn’t help but recall the feeling of his lips, the way he’d tried to slide his hand up the front of her blouse. How she’d pushed him away. His words—“Don’t have a cow!”—rang in her ears along with the noise of the register.

If Evelyn had her druthers, she would’ve had a plan for the next time she saw Peter. To have a smart-but-funny remark handy: No cows here, maybe, with a wink of her left eye, her mascaraed lashes long and dark. She would’ve brightened her face with borrowed make-up from her stepmother’s stash.

Being plain-faced and in the care of her stuffy next-door-neighbor Mrs. Jansen was not what Evelyn had in mind.



NoQS Spooks 11: ERASING RAMONA, Adult Thriller

  Posted by SC_Author , 25 October 2014 · 28 views

Genre: Adult Thriller
Word Count: 75,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Haunted by her discovery of the Orwell Massacre a decade ago, Miranda needs to find out what really happened that night – and whether or not she played any part in the murders.


On the run for the last ten years, 27-year-old Miranda Burgess hasn’t seen her hometown since the day she awoke inside a strange house and discovered six dead bodies, including that of her boyfriend. With no idea who committed the murders and afraid she’d wind up the prime suspect, Miranda panicked and ran to L.A. where she changed her name and made a fresh start. After a decade with no cops coming for her, Miranda braves a trip home to Mill Valley for her father’s funeral.

When a man with a message from an ‘old friend’ tries to drag her to his van, Miranda manages to get away, but ends up hiding on the streets of Mill Valley. Her new identity is compromised, but Miranda refuses to start over again or go to the police. With no idea who the ‘old friend’ is or why a thug was sent after her, Miranda investigates the crime now known as the Orwell Massacre. Convinced the answer lies buried in that blacked-out night, Miranda returns to the murder house. There she discovers she holds the key to a fortune and winds up in the cross hairs of a killer. If Miranda can take down the killer, she may finally be able to stop running. But, if she fails, she’ll wind up the Orwell Massacre’s final victim.

First 250 words:

November 1984

Where the hell was I? My mouth tasted like sour cherry and a hammer pounded somewhere behind my eyes. We must’ve kept partying after Billy’s gig. But where? Here? I freed myself from the tangle of sheets. “Billy?” My voice sounded hoarse and thin. Leaning against a bedpost, I pulled on jeans then fished through the pockets for my vial of pills. I shook out a Xanax and swallowed it dry. A dark sleeve poked from beneath the bed. Shivering, I turned my sweatshirt right-side-out and yanked it on. After struggling into socks and ankle boots, I looked out the closest window.

Gray sky loomed above rolling hills dotted with sycamore and sequoia. Definitely not San Francisco. Was I back in Mill Valley? Which one of Billy’s friends lived out here? I turtled my icy fingers inside my sleeves and stepped into the hall. A wide staircase led down. “Billy?”

Nothing looked familiar – not the tiled entryway, the gilt-framed family portrait, nor the heavy wood shutters covering the windows. When I reached the first floor, a faint hum mixed with the tick of a clock, but the place still felt abandoned.

A door stood open on the far side of the entry. “Billy?” I covered my nose. “Oh, man. You been eating refrieds again?” I stepped inside. A cast-off shoe sat near one of the sofas. I rounded the end of the six-foot sectional and stared.

Dried blood webbed the carpet. Three bodies lay snared in the rust-brown strands.



NoQS Spooks 12: TIMBER POINT, Adult Thriller/Mystery

  Posted by SC_Author , 25 October 2014 · 35 views

Genre: Adult Thriller/Mystery
Word Count: 86,000

My Main Character’s Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Growing up on the streets has a way of making you hard. As a cat burglar people would think I'd be afraid of getting caught, afraid of the cops, but I’m too smart for that. Okay, maybe I feared people getting too close, but that's not a real fear. It's when I got that first midnight phone call that a cold, hard shiver raced down my spine. It was a serial killer. He called to tell me he'd found me. Me, the so-called "expert" cat burglar. I'd accidentally stolen his trophy box.

And he's coming to take it back.


Cat burglar Shawny Daniels always believed her “fearlessness rules” mantra would keep her on top and out of jail. When her latest break-in leads her to a secret room with an aquarium filled with cockroaches-- roaches like she heard about on the news-- she instantly realizes there are some people more dangerous than cops-- serial killers.

She tells herself it’s no big deal until a mutilated chipmunk arrives at her door soon after. Somehow, he’s found her. When the midnight phone calls start, she knows he’s not going away. She listens as his demon-like voice whispers how she inadvertently stole his precious trophy box-- and he wants it back.

The only problem is, she can’t find what he wants. Did she drop it when she ran from the house? She’s afraid, but going to the cops isn’t an option without risking her freedom. When her “helpful” best friend insists on a blind date with charismatic Detective Levon Samuels it might make that impossible, though. Ordinarily Shawny would rather drink bleach than date a cop, but Levon might help her get this psycho off her tail.

Now she’s juggling being stalked by a killer, dating the lead detective on the case and trying to hold on to her own heart. Plus, the closer she gets to Levon and the case, the more she realizes she’s responsible for the killer’s next victim. If she doesn’t find the trophy box, the killer’s coming for her. If she doesn’t come clean with Levon more will die. And if she does, she could lose the only man she’s ever loved.

First 250 words:

I eyed the perfect house, a two-story contemporary in an upscale neighborhood in Revere, Massachusetts. Cased it night after night to learn the occupant's schedule. Shattered a street light out front with a rock to cloak me in darkness, and then returned tonight for the heist. I left nothing to chance.

No way am I going back. The cops will never catch me. I'm way too good for that.

Learning the target's habits is essential in good prowling. The last thing I need is an unannounced arrival or a half-asleep homeowner surprising me in the dark. I get in and get out. That's my specialty. Simple. Smooth. Stealth. Homeowner's insurance covers the stolen goods anyway. It's a victimless crime. And the only way I know to survive.

I waited for just the right moment to strike. The ideal opportunity when the neighbors' homes blackened and all movement stopped inside the target property. To me, it's like a dance. The music starts slow as the first house-light extinguishes, enhances as the second home darkens, and then elevates into a vibrant symphony once the last glimmer vanishes from sight.

This contemporary house, fronted with glass and stucco and a stone-columned carport on the left side, had no swing-set or signs of children in the home.

A perfect mark.

My favorite feature: the catwalk, made from the same wood as the house with chest-high railings that began at the front gate, traveled over a rocked stream-- a manicured lawn on either side-- and continued straightly to the front door.



NoQS Spooks 13: DOWN FOR THE COUNT, Adult Mythic Fiction

  Posted by SC_Author , 25 October 2014 · 47 views

Genre: Adult Mythic Fantasy
Word Count: 94,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Persephone’s stuck between the orders of her stubborn, powerful parents. In one corner, wearing a green gown and threatening to starve mankind: mother Demeter (“stay chaste; help me in the fields for eternity”). In the opposite corner, wearing a sexy tunic and not caring much if mankind starves or not, father Zeus (“marry Hades; be trapped in the underworld forever”). But she’d rather reject both alternatives and chose the direction of her own immortality. That’s tricky enough, but she must first escape the heretofore escape-proof land of the dead—and deal simultaneously with the devoted attention of its love-struck god.


Persephone has killed thousands…of violets, tulips, and roses. While the other gods are off smiting humans, ravishing the slow-of-foot, or dominating the world, she’s stuck overdosing on bucolic delights. So when Hades interrupts yet another scintillating bout of floricide and carries her off to the not-so-sweet hereafter, she’s face-slapping mad—but also a little thrilled. The high point of her life thus far had been inventing the corn dog.

Once down under, she finally has clout. As the supposed consort of its smitten ruler, she soon improves the quality of (after)life for the shades, pardons an unjustly defamed woman, and even turns a misunderstood three-headed hellhound into her beloved pet. She might achieve more were she to agree to become Hades’ actual wife. And she’s tempted. He is the most honorable god she knows, actually respects her opinions, and sports a physique better than the average Greek god.

Unfortunately, without her, the upper world goes to Hades in a Grecian urn. Her worried mother, the goddess of agriculture, stops work, then is assaulted and disappears. While Persephone’s finally found her place in the (under)world—and may have fallen hard for Hades—famine looms, and someone has to find Mom and punish her powerful attacker. But being the first, dead or alive, to slip out of the underworld without discovery will take more ingenuity than inventing the world’s first fast food. She’ll actually have to act like the goddess she has proclaimed herself: Dread Persephone, the Bringer of Death. (“Pass it on.”)

First 250 words:

With two powerful gods as parents, you might think I’d have something better to smite than flowers. If so, you’d be wrong.

Violets had seemed an inspired choice two hours ago. Now my hands and back ached from picking the little suckers. I threw down my half-full basket and plopped my butt onto the grassy, be-flowered paradise on Earth known as Nysion. It wasn’t that I lacked choice; the place always abounded with a variety of flowers. And, of course, bees that never stung and butterflies in an array of colors and glorious weather at all times. Utterly delightful.

And after a hundred years, utterly mind-numbing.

Maybe I should use my divine powers to do this. I concentrated. New plants sprouted, instead. Nope, I could still only make them grow, not pick themselves and leap into my basket.

A rustle from the woods surrounding the meadow made me jump. No, that must have been the wind blowing through the trees. I didn’t feel any breeze, but what else could it be? An unbidden shiver coursed through my body until I told it to stop. It wasn’t cold. It was never cold here. Like everything else in my life, Nysion was always the same. The only difference from all my previous trips was I was here alone.

I didn’t understand why Zeus had asked me to get the flowers for our quarterly banquet tonight. I was handling the food, too. Why didn’t Dad ask his favorite daughter, Hebe, to be useful for once?



NoQS Spooks 7: THE BATTLE BORN, YA Contemporary/Adventure

  Posted by SC_Author , 25 October 2014 · 16 views

Genre: YA Contemporary/Adventure
Word Count: 76,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Out of food, gas, and water, John Lockwood's most fearsome obstacle is the Nevada desert.


Seventeen-year-old John doesn’t know what caused the blackout 21 days ago, and he doesn’t know why help has yet to reach his rural Nevada town. The water pumps are out, their gasoline storage is depleted, and most of the town has already evacuated. Cut off from communication, John’s fifteen-year-old brother, Stew, is convinced it’s the zombie apocalypse. But John was left in charge of him, and he knows the power will be back soon, they just need to wait it out.

When a group of men rob them of their food and water storage, that plan changes. They’ll have to attempt the impossible: walk 90 miles down one of the most desolate highways in the state to reach help.

Teenager Cleverly and her younger brother are also desperate to reach help. When John agrees to let them tag along, he knows he’s making a mistake. After all, cutting their scavenged water supply in half is not exactly conducive to surviving a three day walk through the desert. And as Stew falls into a pessimistic downward spiral, John has serious doubts about their chances of making it. Not only are they dealing with physical exhaustion, unbearable heat, and a dangerous lack of water, but he’s not convinced they’ve seen the last of those men who robbed them.

If they’re going to beat the odds and survive this disaster, John will have to let go of past mistakes and learn to trust his instincts.

First 250 words:

Dad always said if things get desperate, it’s okay to drink the water in the toilet bowl. I never thought it would come to that. I thought I’d sooner die than let one drop of toilet water touch my lips. Yet here I am, kneeling before a porcelain throne, holding a tin mug for scooping in one hand, and my half-gallon canteen in the other.

Don’t worry, I’m going to boil it first.

Behind me, my brother Stewart is making gagging noises. “I’m gonna throw up,” he says, which is something Stew says all the time, but does he ever actually throw up? No. He doesn’t do most of the things he says he’s going to do, like run away, or kill himself, or kill me—I was actually already dying when he said that one. “C’mon, John,” he says, the whine in his voice setting my teeth on edge, “do we really need this?”

I stop mid-scoop and stare up at him, holding the pink padded toilet seat up with my elbow. “No, we don’t need it, Stew. I just thought, ‘Oh look, water from a toilet. That sounds refreshing, let’s drink it.’”

His sullen, dark eyes narrow at me, and I thrust the canteen into his unwilling hands. He kneels down to help me, but adds in a mumble, “We have two canteens of water already.”

And that’s a perfect example of how my brother thinks. Two canteens of water, and we have a 90 mile walk down a desolate stretch of desert highway before we reach Brighton Ranch, our last chance for help.


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