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It’s time for the YA Scavenger Hunt!!!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 03 April 2018 · 162 views

 

Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt! Hi! I’m Amy Trueblood and this is my section of the hunt! Here are a few details in case you’re new to the process…

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all!

I’m a part of the RED TEAM–but there is also a blue team, a gold team, a green team, a purple team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Before we get to the hunt and the exclusive bonus content, here’s a little about me…

 

I write Young Adult Historical fiction. My debut, NOTHING BUT SKY released last Tuesday!

 

 

Grace Lafferty, an eighteen-year-old wing-walker, thrills crowds with barrel rolls and loop-the-loops in hopes of making enough money to get to the 1922 World Aviation Expo. When one of her maneuvers saves a pilot’s life, a film studio offers Grace a chance at a coveted Hollywood contract. But after a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether her life is worth risking for one final trick.

 

When I’m not writing, I’m always on the search for good salsa and guacamole. I have a soft spot for villains who have a compelling backstory and love books where the world building makes me forget where I am for a few hours. Also, if you give me Red Vines I will be your new best friend!!

 

On to puzzle details…

 

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

 

 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the RED Team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).

 

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

 

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 8 at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

 

SCAVENGER HUNT POST

 

 

Today, I’m hosting Lisa Maxwell on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Lisa is the New York Times Best-Selling author of The Last MagicianThe book is being translated into ten languages and has been sold in eleven territories. Her other books for Young Adults include the award-winning Unhooked, as well as the critically acclaimed Sweet Unrest and Gathering Deep She has a PhD in English and is a professor at a community college outside of D.C.  She drinks way too much coffee and has a soft spot for loud music and fast cars. When she’s not teaching or writing, you can probably find her catching a live band or going on adventures with her husband and two boys.

 

Find out more information by checking out her author website: Lisa-Maxwell.com

 

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT-DELETED SCENE

 

 

The building’s twin turrets each had ornate balconies and were capped with bulb-shaped rooftops that came to points five or six stories above the crowds. Between them, a sign in electric lights spelled out “Baby Incubators.” Curious, Esta followed the walk toward until she was in the middle of the manicured courtyard that anchored the u-shaped building. Unlike some of the other attractions on the Pike, this building wasn’t meant to look like some version of a far-off land. It was a fairly sedate structure, by comparison, built of red brick and surrounded by manicured gardens. Two stories tall, the columned façade curved around the landscaping of the courtyard. In the center of that courtyard stood an enormous statue of a woman surrounded by cherubic children.

As she moved farther into the courtyard, Esta was surprised by the hushed atmosphere she found there. Just steps away was the raucous noise of the parade and the spectacle of the Pike itself, but here, the crowd seemed transformed, almost-reverent. Occasionally, a woman in a white apron and cap would emerge from one of the arched doorways of the building and make her way across the courtyard to a door on the opposite side. A pair of white-aproned women sat in the shade of a pear tree, eating a pretzel together.

Esta found an empty spot on one of the stone benches that lined the courtyard and watched as other fairgoers trickled into the courtyard and went through one of the entrances on the left side of the building. After the heat of the sun and the crowd out on the main street, the shade felt like a relief. She took off the cap was wearing long enough to wipe the sweat from her brow and push her hair back out of her eyes again. She could have stayed in the shade of the courtyard until the parade passed and the crowd outside thinned, but after a few minutes, she started to feel antsy, as though every time one of the white-aproned women looked her way, she’d be able to see right through her disguise.

Keep moving. It was better than drawing any more attention.

She didn’t want to go back out into the crowd, so she decided to see where the steady stream of visitors were going and what was inside of the building. She wasn’t sure what to expect—“baby incubators” could have meant nearly anything, especially considering the strange carnivalesque atmosphere of the rest of the Pike. She had the brief image of science-fiction babies swimming in test tubes of glowing goo, but the reality was more disappointing. The interior of the building had the sedateness of a hospital mixed with the architecture of a church. Again, silence seemed to pervade the atmosphere of the place.

Keeping her hands tucked into her pockets, Esta followed the thin line of people through the corridor until she came to a large room with a glass wall that separated the crowd from the row of cube-shaped boxes. The glass-fronted boxes were being monitored by a crew of white-aproned nurses, and each of the boxes contained a small lump of an infant.

They were tiny… Terrifyingly fragile.

Instinctively, Esta backed away from the row of boxes, away from the fragile creatures and the nurses who didn’t seem to see the crowd watching them. The babies floating in goo her imagination had conjured would have been less unsettling than finding these perfectly human babies on display here, like some sort of freak show attraction. To have morose-looking nurses tending to them in the middle of the revelry and audaciousness of the Pike, as though this were some perfectly normal hospital ward.

Esta was already nearly to the exit when she felt it—a warmth in the air that had nothing to do with the air pumped into the incubators.

Someone here was Mageus. Someone was using an affinity.

Julien had told them that the Jefferson Guard looked for Mageus, but Esta hadn’t really believed that could be possible. In truth, she hadn’t wanted to believe it. But the sizzling warmth of the magic floating through the air was unmistakable to anyone who shared an affinity with it, and it was here, at the Exposition. Here, in the midst of this crowd. And she wanted to know who it was.

WOW!! That was awesome. Thank you, Lisa!

 

Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Lisa Maxwell, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is. Hint: There are 5 siblings in my family!!! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the Red team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

 

CONTINUE THE HUNT

 

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, S.F. Henson!

 



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NOTHING BUT SKY is here!!!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 27 March 2018 · 170 views

 

 

WOW!! It’s hard to believe the day is finally here! NOTHING BUT SKY is out in the world! It’s been a long journey to get here. Many of you who’ve followed this blog since the beginning know what an arduous path it’s been. From receiving over 100 agent rejections, to being on sub for almost two years (and not selling), to finally selling NBS (after another six months of waiting), it’s not been a trip for the faint-hearted.

Today, I want to say thank you to all of you. You’ve been here all along, always offering support and words of encouragement in my darkest times. You’ve read the stories about how writers got their deals, you’ve talked about the successful queries, and allowed me to provide insight from authors and industry experts. Each post has been a joy to write, and I’ve loved all your comments.

Now on this important day, I’m reaching out to each one of you to ask for help. If you’ve learned anything from this blog: laughed at a path to publication story in my W.O.W series, taken notes on a successful query from my QUITE THE QUERY feature, or reworked your opening because of advice in THE FIRST FIVE FRENZY, I hope you can take a minute to spread the word about NOTHING BUT SKY.

Here are a few ways you can help today:

 

 

    • If you find yourself at your local B&N or independent bookstore and don’t see NBS on the shelves, ask them to stock it. Flux is a smaller press and not all stores will carry it without customer requests.

 

    • When you’re at your local library, please check and see if they have NBS. If they don’t, ask them to carry it.

 

    • If you know a high school English or History teacher who might be interested in my book, let me know. I’m more than happy to send them bookmarks or character stickers for their students.

 

    • If you’ve read the book early thanks to physical and digital ARCs, I’d love to have you add your reviews to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

Word of mouth is key to spreading news about debuts in the book community, especially for someone from a small press. I would really appreciate your support in helping to promote Nothing But Sky in these critical first few weeks.

Thanks as always for standing by me through the ups and downs of this process. I seriously appreciate each and every one of you and I’m so happy to call you all friends!

Hugs,

Amy



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“20 in 2018” Celebrates the Release of NOTHING LEFT TO BURN

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 13 March 2018 · 161 views

 

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

My new series, titled “20 in 2018” features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and will include the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, March 16 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine! U.S. entries only please. Winner will be announced on Monday, March 19.

Here is today’s book…

 



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“20 in 2018” Features BLOOD WATER PAINT and THE MIDNIGHTS

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 06 March 2018 · 121 views

 

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

My new series, titled “20 in 2018” features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and will include the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, March 9 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine! U.S. entries only please. Winner will be announced on Monday, March 12.

Today there are TWO books in the “20 in 2018″ giveaway…

 

BLOOD WATER PAINT by Joy McCullough

 

A debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

I will show you
what a woman can do.

 

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

 

THE MIDNIGHTS by Sarah Nicole Smetana

 

This voice-driven coming-of-age YA novel is perfect for fans of Katie Cotugno and Playlist for the Dead.

Susannah Hayes has never been in the spotlight, but she dreams of following her father, a former rock star, onto the stage. As senior year begins, she’s more interested in composing impressive chord patterns than college essays, certain that if she writes the perfect song, her father might finally look up from the past long enough to see her. But when he dies unexpectedly, her dreams—and her reality—shatter.

While Susannah struggles with grief, her mother uproots them to a new city. There, Susannah realizes she can reinvent herself however she wants: a confident singer-songwriter, member of a hip band, embraced by an effortlessly cool best friend. But Susannah is not the only one keeping secrets, and soon, harsh revelations threaten to unravel her life once again.

Set against the scintillating landscape of Southern California, The Midnights is an evocative coming-of-age debut about loss, creativity, and finding your voice while you’re still finding yourself.

 

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

 

Want to win a copy of one of these beautiful books? Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments. Please specify which book you would like. If open to either, please let me know.

 



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“20 in 2018” Celebrates THE CALCULUS OF CHANGE and PEOPLE LIKE US

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 27 February 2018 · 110 views

 

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

My new series, titled “20 in 2018” features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and will include the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, March 2 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine! U.S. entries only please. Winner will be announced on Monday, March 5.

Today there are TWO books in the “20 in 2018″ giveaway…

 

THE CALCULUS OF CHANGE by Jessie Hilb

A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one’s own skin.

Aden isn’t looking for love in her senior year. She’s much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike’s and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden’s heart is gone in an instant.

The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom—and her mom’s faith—than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else—even Aden’s brother and her best friend—can see their connection, but does Tate?

Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory.

Now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

 

 

PEOPLE LIKE US by Dana Mele

Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

Now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

 

Want to win a copy of one of these beautiful books? Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments. Please specify which book you would like. If open to either, please let me know.

 

 

 



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2018 Sun versus Snow Agent Round is Here!!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 07 February 2018 · 139 views

 

 

 

Today is the day our amazing agents can begin reading the Team Sun entries and making requests. Not only will they see the amazing entries here, but they can also make requests for Team Snow over at Michelle Hauck’s blog!

As the agents move through the entries, please remember that contests are subjective. Our agents have a definitive idea of what they would like for their list. If they do not request, it DOES NOT mean the entry was not worthy. No matter what happens, you’ve got to keep querying and NEVER GIVE UP!

Before Team Sun totally blisters Team Snow, here are some guidelines to remember:

There is no commenting in this round except for agents. Sorry, but no cheerleading as this may lead to an unconscious bias.

We are happy to see and retweet your thoughts and cheers over on Twitter under the #sunvssnow tag! That’s the place to hang out and have fun! I hope to see my Team Sun members present and waving their pom poms! We have some scorching hot entries that are going to completely melt Team Snow!

Watch both my and Michelle’s Twitter feed as we will be tweeting when an agent makes an appearance!

Agents will consider entries at both the blogs regardless of whether they are Sun or Snow fans. Michelle and I are hoping the agents go crazy with the requests! There is amazing talent on both our teams!

Good luck to all and be sure to get out the sunglasses and sunscreen because the heat is coming for Team Snow!



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SVS 1: Everything Comes Back To You – Adult Women’s Fiction

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 07 February 2018 · 124 views

 

Title: EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO YOU

Category/Genre: Adult – Women’s Fiction

Word count: 87,000

 

Is your antagonist hot or cold? 

When Anna was young, there were a lot of kids that made fun of her—for her thrift store clothes that smelled like her mom’s cigarettes, for the free meal tickets she had to hand the lunch ladies in front of everybody. But nobody was ever as deliberately cruel and cold as Camille. Anna had nothing, and nobody except for her best friend, Gabe. But Camille wanted Gabe and saw Anna as competition. Like an avalanche plowing down a frost-bound mountain, Camille wouldn’t stop until she swept Anna from her path.

 

Query:

Anna trusts her best friend Gabe with her life. But even after almost two decades, trusting him with her heart is a different story.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Campbell can’t even count the number of times she’s come home to find the rent money gone and her mother passed out with a needle in her arm. Making friends is impossible—someone might find out what’s going on with her mother, and she’s too busy with a college program that could finally help her escape the chaos at home. But when her partner on a class project is Gabe Weatherall, a wealthy college student whose life couldn’t be more different than her own, she has an unexpected glimpse of what she’s missing.

Not only does Gabe make her laugh, he sees past her shabby clothes and snarky comebacks. When he draws her into his huge, loving family, he offers her a safe place and a chance to belong. But Anna’s childhood scars are deep, and she knows she’ll never fit into the Weatheralls’ world. She takes off to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor and traveling the world, leaving behind the family she almost had.

When unexpected circumstances bring Anna home over a decade later, she’s thrust back into the whirlwind of the Weatheralls, and she can no longer deny the feelings she’s had for Gabe for close to half her life. But secrets from her childhood surface, and people from her troubled past return, threatening the tenuous new life she’s built. Anna will have to decide if she can let go of her past to take a chance on a future with the people who’ve been there all along.

EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO YOU, women’s fiction, is complete at 87,000 words. Readers who appreciate love stories that endure across time, distance, and economic backgrounds, such as Jennifer Weiner’s WHO DO YOU LOVE and Renee Carlino’s SWEAR ON THIS LIFE, will enjoy this book.

 

First 250 words:

Anna Campbell took a shaky breath to calm the jackhammer in her chest as her professor rattled off a list of names from the podium. The guy seated to her right shot a pointed look at her scuffed sneaker, and she pressed a hand to her leg to still the nervous tapping.

The person whose name her professor was about to call had no idea that Anna’s future was riding on them. As one of only a handful of high school kids who qualified for this competitive college program, this project was her shot at a scholarship, at a life where she wasn’t always looking over her shoulder.

The sharp crinkle of paper in Dr. McGovern’s hand echoed through the lecture hall as his finger slid down the list and then stopped.

Anna clutched the hem of her ratty hand-me-down t-shirt, its bright orange hue glowing like a beacon as she waited for her partner’s name.

“Gabriel Weatherall.”

Her gaze flew across the room to the tall, dark-haired guy slouched in his chair, idly rolling his pen between his fingers.

He hitched his chin to acknowledge her, and then looked away. Less than a second later, his head whipped back, and his mouth dropped open in an almost comical enactment of a double take.

Well, it would’ve been comical if her whole life wasn’t at stake.

She forced herself to flash him a friendly smile. As his eyebrows raised and his lip curled, Anna felt her scholarship slipping from her grasp.



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SVS 2: Bloodstone – Adult Urban Fantasy

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 07 February 2018 · 126 views

 

Title: BLOODSTONE

Category/Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Word count: 77,000

 

Is your antagonist hot or cold?

Hot! My antagonists passionately believe in their cause–to set things right and undo the injustices perpetrated against them.

 

Query:

When Katelyn Grey inherits the family brownstone, she’s keen to learn about the family she never knew. But the family hid secrets, including that she’s descended from Celtic witches and has magic abilities. Her attempts at casting spells go awry, annoying the sentient brownstone and confusing the already rattled resident ghost.

There’s no time to figure things out. Someone is stalking her. Katelyn barricades the doors and digs her heels in. Her inheritance includes a mystical key, and they want it–at any cost. Katelyn is given an ultimatum: hand over the key or her stepmother and sister will die. The only problem is that to find the key, she needs magic.

Katelyn must find a way to tame magic to save the family she has, even if it means exposing the dark secrets of her other family’s past. Each secret she uncovers will change her forever.

 

First 250 words:

I’d never been far from home. I never had the need until a lawyer showed up on my doorstep two days ago. Now, I sat in the back of a cab driving through a seaside town on the other side of the country.

As we turned down a cobblestone street, I took a deep breath and relaxed. The trees sparkled with yellow leaves fluttering in the breeze. Identical brownstones lined both sides of the street, each three stories high with skinny black shutters. Wrought iron rails led up stairs to tall, mahogany doors. Signs of life were everywhere: a toy truck sat on a step, a package leaned against a door, a rake stuck out of a pile of leaves.

The cab stopped in front of the one with chipped and faded bricks. Twigs jutted out of the planters. Grime coated the beveled green windows, and cobwebs traveled from the doorframe up to a mass of webbing.

The taxi retreated while I stood on the sidewalk gripping my suitcase. A heavy lump settled in my stomach. I double-checked the address before heading toward the brownstone. My aunt willed it to me along with instructions.

I hesitated with the key in the lock. Then, I closed my eyes and turned the key. As the door opened, a surge of stale air rushed past me, as if the house breathed a sigh of relief.

A strange sensation washed over me. I had never seen a picture of this place, let alone been inside it. Yet, it felt familiar.



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SVS 3: The Broken Road – Adult Women’s Fiction

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 07 February 2018 · 112 views

 

Title: THE BROKEN ROAD

Category/Genre: Adult – Women’s Fiction

Word count: 107,000

 

Is your antagonist hot or cold?

My antagonist isn’t a person, so I’ll describe the weather. My novel begins during fall in Iowa, the oaks and maples painted in vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. The second half of the novel takes place during winter in the ranchlands of Wyoming. The ranch is cradled in a snowy valley, protected by the foothills and Medicine Bow forest.

 

Query:

Dear Agent,

Thirty-four-year-old Dana Cooper is one of the best horse trainers in the country until an accident leaves her paralyzed. Now she spends her days in physical rehabilitation, angry at the world, at her family who avoids her, and at her boyfriend who left her. What’s the point of rehab when she’ll never walk again, never train another horse? The only thing she wants is to save her horse, who was also injured in the accident. When she meets Matt Ross, a veterinarian and friend of a fellow rehab patient, Dana’s wish becomes a reality.

Although Matt appears confident and cocky on the outside, his life is unraveling. His divorce and separation from his two sons are bad enough. Now he feels responsible for the accident that leaves his best friend, Renn, paralyzed. When Renn introduces Matt to Dana and asks him to save her horse, Matt only agrees out of guilt. After meeting the bitter horse trainer, Matt wonders if he’s made a mistake. But as he gets to know Dana, he catches glimpses of a different woman beneath her anger.

Dana tries to fight her growing attraction to Matt, scared to open her heart, certain that love is another thing she’ll never have again after her accident. But Matt’s the first person who gets her back on a horse, showing her she can still ride, and she’s impressed by the bond he develops with her horse. When Dana’s family abandons her after she’s released from rehab, she feels like her life is over. So when Matt asks her to go to Wyoming because his granddad is gravely ill, she takes a chance and says yes. As they come together in the vast and wild ranchlands of Wyoming, they’ll both have to choose between hanging on to the past or forging a new present together.

THE BROKEN ROAD is an epic novel that can best be described as Me Before You meets The Horse Whisperer. I have direct experience with the physical and emotional impact of spinal cord injuries. My teenage daughter has paraplegia as the result of a broken back.

 

First 250 words:

Dana was about to prove them all wrong. The thought made her smile to herself as she walked down the long aisle of the horse barn, the fall leaves crunching beneath her boots. A gust of wind stirred the leaves, sending a chill through her, making her zip up her fleece coat.

She stopped halfway down the aisle and stood outside of the stall, peering at the bay horse inside. He looked back at her with his wary brown eyes, with a hint of distrust she wasn’t sure would ever disappear.

“You ready for this?” she asked him, reaching for the handle. As soon as the latch clicked, he jumped back, spooked by the sound.

“Easy,” she said in a calm voice. “Easy, Wild Man.”

She stepped into the stall and reached for Wild’s halter, getting a firm grip on it in case he lurched forward. His nostrils flared, expelling a breath of air so strong, it blew Dana’s strawberry blonde hair away from her face. “You’re fine,” she said, giving his neck several firm pats, trying to loosen him up, hoping he’d absorb her confidence.

She secured him in the crossties and took her time grooming him, talking to him, letting the motion of the curry comb and the brushes sooth his quivering muscles.

Dana didn’t normally get overly attached to the horses she trained, but there was something different about Wild. No one else noticed him at the sale barn, but underneath his wild eyes and trembling body, she saw a champion.

 



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SVS 4: Derek Hyde Knows Spooky When He Sees It – Middle Grade Paranormal

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 07 February 2018 · 93 views

 

Title: DEREK HYDE KNOWS SPOOKY WHEN HE SEES IT

Category/Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal

Word count: 43,000

 

Is your antagonist hot or cold? 

My antagonist is cold as brass monkey bars. In Alaska. In February. Before Global Warming. His name is Norval Nussbaum, and he’s not only calm and calculating, he’s coldly cynical and brrrr-utily bad.

 

Query:

Dear Sun vs. Snow Agents,

Twelve-year-old Derek Hyde isn’t tingling with undiluted joy that the spookiest old mansion in town is about to become the Hyde Funeral Home & Used Coffin Outlet. Especially since he has to live there with his mortician parents, Jack and Formalda.

Of course, being driven in the family hearse to his first day at middle school doesn’t exactly add whipped cream to his broccoli.

As if things couldn’t get more horrific, an evil classmate named Nussbaum attacks him in the cafeteria with a plate of beef stroganoff. Seems this kid used to love living in the old mansion himself, but got yanked out after accidentally blowing up his own mom and dad. With his chemistry set. Now his dead parents are stuck as ghosts and Nussbaum is a foster kid stuck on revenge, vowing to get even with Derek’s family for taking over his haunted home.

Derek desperately craves a nice place to live, but a couple of minor details stand in his way—just some blood-curdling apparitions that scare the pants off him and a classmate bent on ensuring he ends up in his parents’ embalming room. As a client.

DEREK HYDE KNOWS SPOOKY WHEN HE SEES IT may appeal to young readers who enjoy the creepiness and humor of PARANORMAN and Lauren Magaziner’s THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES.

 

First 250 words:

There are far worse things in life than being raised in a funeral home. For example, you could… um…

Okay, here’s one. You could have your brains eaten alive and slurped down by cranky, overworked zombies who haven’t had their morning coffee.

Or how about this? You could be stuffed into a spin dryer at Leo’s Laundromat & Hideous Stain Removal Service and set to Extra Dry/Huge Load.

But Derek Hyde wasn’t eaten and he definitely wasn’t spin dried, either. Just driven to the narcoleptic town of Littleburp in the family car (actually, an old yellow school bus), and then to a really unfortunate and grossly undesirable address: 1313 Slimeytoes Lane.

As the bus splashed its way through a beautifully timed thunderstorm on the worst day of Derek’s life (so far), his mom and dad worked at keeping his spirits up by singing their favorite, most embarrassing song: Poopy Head, Poopy Head, Don’t You Be a Poopy Head.

It didn’t help.

It was bad enough his parents dragged Derek out of his seventh grade class and away from all his friends to limp across the country in a broken-down bus on this Journey to Nowhere. Much worse was the notion of moving him into a spooky old manor house they planned to convert into a funeral home.

You see, his parents were funeral directors. Morticians. Undertakers.

On this appropriately stormy autumn day, Derek watched through rain-streaked windows as they screeched to a halt in front of the scariest mansion he’d ever seen.

It had towers. With turrets.

 

 



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