It’s Time to “Pitch Your Shorts”!

by Jami Gold on January 10, 2012

in Writing Stuff

Cartoon of man digging at an

Update:  Sorry, this pitch session is now closed.  I might do another one at some point, so stay tuned. Thanks for your interest!

The Pitch Your Shorts pitch session is officially open!  Please read the whole post for all the details.

We’ll have at least six (6!) editors from Entangled Publishing visiting the blog between now and Monday, January 16th.  So if your pitch isn’t quite ready, never fear.  We have almost a week to cross our t’s and dot our i’s.

The editors are as excited by this event as we are, so they’ve upped their promise.  They guarantee they’ll make at least three requests from those who pitch here, and for the pitch that excites them the most, they’ll offer detailed feedback.

(*psst*  Truthfully, they expect to be fighting in the hallways for dibs on pitches and requesting many more than three, but that’s the minimum number.  This is more like a writing conference than a contest, and editors can request every pitch that interests them.  Woo hoo!)

Submission Guidelines (Is Your Short Fiction a Good Fit?)

Entangled Publishing is interested in stories with strong romantic elements that end in a “happily ever after” or a “happily for now.”  They’re looking for stories in the 10-60K word range and are open to many genres:

  • Contemporary
  • Historical
  • Romantic Thrillers
  • Science Fiction, Dystopian, Steampunk
  • Paranormal and Urban Fantasy
  • Fantasy

The editors are taking pitches for their Flirt (10-15K), Ever After (20-40K), and Lori Wilde’s…Indulgence (45-60K, “a smarter, hipper version of Harlequin’s lines”) imprints.  If you don’t have anything that fits now, keep an eye on their Special Calls for Submissions for various anthologies in the works.

Meet the Editors

Adrien-Luc Sanders, Senior Editor

His current interests run towards sci-fi, contemporary, and urban fantasy—the darker, the better—with a love for gritty dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, supernatural, and that rare cross-genre gem. He likes stories falling into that gray area of the battle between good and evil, with strong antiheros and believable villains, or heroes who face temptation and corruption and don’t always get away unscathed, though he can also be won over by quirkiness, sweetness, and humor, with a love of oddball characters and whimsy.

He’s also interested in stories that portray people of color and LGBT people as mainstream characters whose cultural, ethnic, sexual, and gender diversity are enhancements to their character rather than the primary focus of the story.

Kerri-Leigh Grady, Associate Editor

She loves paranormal romance and UF worlds that aren’t complicated by numerous mythical beasties, smart romantic comedy, dark comedy, romantic thrillers/suspense/horror, dystopian romance including steampunk, reunions, BFFs falling in love, marriage of convenience, [strong] woman in jeopardy, man in jeopardy, supernatural elements, clever monster elements, multi-cultural characters, alpha nerds, high stakes adventure, and general hilarity. She’s open to F/M, F/F, and M/M pairings in all heat levels.

For Indulgences, she’s looking specifically for the following: reunions, BFFs, marriage of convenience, ugly duckling, [strong] woman in jeopardy, man in jeopardy, road trip, alpha nerds, high stakes adventure and suspense, forbidden love, fish out of water, and smart romantic comedy. I’d love to find a military hero where the romantic conflict rings true and is related to the challenges of being a mil-girlfriend or milspouse.

Libby Murphy, Associate Editor

Libby would like to see submissions for adults and young adults written with a killer voice, and she especially loves quirky characters and plots. She loves sci-fi with aliens, robots, and high tech; urban fantasy and time travel; contemporary romance; women’s fiction with a strong romantic element; and suspense and mysteries. She craves humor, anti-heroes, and underdogs, and strong, capable heroines are a must.

For Indulgences, she’s looking specifically for the following: Best friends, best friend’s younger sister, millionaire playboy, athletes, relationship because of a bet, arranged marriages, bad boys, revenge plots, reunions, adventure (Indiana Jones meets Bridget Jones!), romantic comedy, forbidden love, geeks (hero or heroine), and military heroes. I’m not likely to request sheiks or royalty, but if the royalty is the heroine, that’s definitely more likely. I’m a huge sucker for snarky heroines, funny heroes, and heroes who are the strong, silent type. Libby was interviewed here recently.

Libby is especially interested in Flirts and Ever Afters that fit the following:

  • Scientists or inventor-types who walk the line between good and bad (like Batman)
  • Paranormals with a villain hero/heroine who is redeemed by the end
  • Disaster or apocalyptic events in which people find love, despite everything falling apart around them (can be sci-fi, fantasy, or contemporary featuring a natural disaster, for example)
  • Quirky contemporaries or paranormals—humor is a must!
  • Sci-fi, especially if it has a Tron, I, Robot, or a Terminator type setting
  • Thrillers set in a small town
  • Zombie hunters :)
  • Romantic Comedy (would love to see a trilogy about a group of girlfriends finding love)

Lewis Pollak, Associate Editor

A student of philosophy, psychology, and the sciences, Lewis Pollak has an appreciation for both characters with complex motivations and stories that are thought-provoking. Find him on Twitter at @LewisPollak.

Lewis loves books that take readers to new worlds, whether they are alien landscapes, alternate histories, or contemporaries with a twist. He also enjoys books that strike a balance between serious and humorous moments. While partial to all sorts of speculative fiction from high fantasy and urban fantasy (but not Keith Urban fantasies) to science fiction and paranormal, interesting characters with genuine emotions and snappy retorts usually win him over regardless of genre.

Kerry Vail, Associate Editor

Kerry loves the whole spectrum of speculative fiction, from hard scifi to space opera to sociological. She loves dystopian futures and alternate histories, especially when combined with a compelling voice and an unusual twist. She also enjoys urban fantasy, high fantasy, and paranormal thrillers, and gravitates toward strong female leads who are intelligent and can save themselves and fall in love. She is open to stories of love in any of its many forms and any heat level.

Josh Vogt, Associate Editor

Josh Vogt has a passion for reading and writing speculative fiction. He’s seen all sides of the publishing industry, works as a freelance copywriter and editor, and is currently signed with a literary agent to get his novels published. He brings to the team his love for books, plus a desire to help aspiring authors in their quest for publication success. Find him on Twitter at @JRVogt.

Josh is interested in all types of fantasy and science fiction, from urban fantasy to steampunk to space opera to epic and YA fantasy. He loves stories that suck him in without warning and compel him to keep reading thanks to fascinating characters, great dialogue, twisting plots, and powerful worldbuilding.

Read more about the editing team at Entangled Publishing.

How to Pitch Your Shorts—All the Details

Before midnight Eastern time on Monday, January 16, 2012, post the information about your story, your two-sentence pitch, and the first 100 words of your story in the comments of this post.  Like so…

TITLE: insert title here
GENRE: insert genre here
WORD COUNT: approximate word count here

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
Insert your two sentence pitch here.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
Insert your first 100-ish words here.  You’re allowed to end slightly before or after 100 words to finish with a complete sentence.

(Formatting Notes: This blog uses WordPress comments, so you won’t be able to edit or delete your comment after it’s posted.  Boo, hiss, I know.  So pay attention here.)

  • If you want a blank line between paragraphs, hit “Enter” twice.
  • If you want italics, use this code: <em>these words would be italicized</em>.   The <em> code turns italics on, and the </em> code turns italics off.
  • Don’t forget to turn italics off, or the rest of your comment will be italicized.
  • If you make a mistake, contact me via the Contact form on my blog or through Twitter and I will edit/fix/delete your comment as you wish.  (I want us all to do our best.)
  • Comments will be moderated, so your pitch will not be public right away.  (This will let me ensure that all comments are pitches and give you time to contact me with issues.)

I love conversations in the comments, but for the sake of this pitch session, I ask you to comment to this post only with a pitch.  Just this once, restrain your brilliant thoughts and help me spread the word about this pitch session instead.  *smile*

I’ll be closing the comment section at midnight Eastern time on Monday, January 16th.  Until then, good luck to everyone and Pitch Your Shorts!

37 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Carradee January 10, 2012 at 7:11 am

TITLE: Belladonna’s Beast
GENRE: dark fantasy
WORD COUNT: 11,400

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
Rosie-Briar took a knife to her face as soon as she realized her father would otherwise trade her body for coin, and he promptly kept her younger sister Belladonna too drugged to do the same. A cloaked stranger offers Rosie an escape, but can she take it when leaving would abandon her sister and niece—or can she give it up when sending them away might make life worse for all of them?

FIRST 100 WORDS:
Once upon a time, a merchant had three daughters, and none of them with the same mother.

Rather, the merchant had two daughters and a granddaughter, but the daughters weren’t married—and what the merchant sold were rights to his younger daughter’s bed, which was how that daughter had the baby to begin with.

The elder daughter, born Briar, had realized early what awaited her if she stayed pretty, so she took a knife to her face before she had her first moontime. Her father kept Briar as a maid. He called her his Rosie and enjoyed men’s revulsion when they realized what a maimed little thing his Rosie was.

Kaitlin January 10, 2012 at 7:15 am

TITLE: Revolutions
GENRE: Fantasy, Dystopian
WORD COUNT: 20,500

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
Amy was never meant to be a hero. But when fate pushes her world to war, she finds that above all else, love makes a leader.

FIRST 100 WORDS:

The research of Commander Geist indicates that the afflicted ones, or ‘Zombies’ were created by rogue Yavina. It is therefore our recommendation to tighten restrictions.

“What?!” Amy cried, sitting up in a flurry of neon purple and pink hair. As the TV began defining the proposal further, she snarled, throwing the remote across the room so hard that the batteries clattered out and to the carpeted floor. “It’s not like the zombies don’t attack us too!” she shouted. “What do they think we are, monsters!?”

Jennifer sighed, picking up the batteries and placing them back into the remote as she watched her dusky-skinned friend fume. “They’re scared, Amy, you know that.”

Joseph Adorno January 10, 2012 at 7:43 am

Title: As She Wishes…
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Urban Fantasy/Mystery
Word Count: 10k

Two-Sentence Pitch:
Allan Knight wants revenge after finding his genie frozen solid in its bottle. He has to get the genie of the lamp in order to carry out his plan, but he must persuade its master to help – the most beautiful woman he ever met!

First 100 Words:

I rubbed the bottle.
“Gene, wake up, it’s time for wish number two.”
Nothing Happened.
“Gene?” I peaked inside.
The bottle always looked opened and empty, so there was no way to tell … but then I noticed some liquid swirling around the bottom. I let it pour out onto the palm of my hand. It smelled familiar. I licked it. It was soda.
Instinctively, I ran to the fridge to check the soda bottles. Nothing missing. Besides, they don’t look exactly like this bottle. I closed the door. Then I remembered the freezer. A bad thought popped into my head.

Murphy January 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

Title: Beguiling Detour
Genre: Contemporary
Word count: 14,500

Things take a sizzling turn when Killian’s mission to thwart a heist is derailed by ballsy tour guide, Peyton Thomas. When he inadvertently discovers she’s actually an agent undercover sent to protect him, the alpha in him roars with indignation until he realizes this forced intimacy is the perfect opportunity to show her who’s boss.

Killian MacGregor scratched his shoulder with the tip of his gun, tilted his head to one side and examined. Sure, the ass wedged in the window just over the urinal was sweet, but not sweet enough to die for.
“Hello? Mr. Police guy? I know you’re there.”
Her legs were nice too. If only she’d stop air-tapping her foot as if she were pissed. He should be pissed. He was missing all the fun. “The name’s MacGregor, Ms. Thomas, agent not officer and yes, I’m here. Question is why are you hanging in the men’s john during a heist?”

Jami Gold January 10, 2012 at 8:59 am

TITLE: The Hornet’s Virgin
GENRE: Dystopian Romance (with steampunk elements)
WORD COUNT: 17K (this could be increased or decreased to fit within Flirt or Ever After as needed)

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
In a post-apocalyptic future where sexual slavery is the norm, a self-educated woman fights to retain her dignity and her virginity belt, the one thing protecting her from the rape gangs. But when an expeditionary general demands the key to her belt, Julia’s days of relative safety will end once he returns her to her owner defiled–unless she can convince him to buy her outright.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
While this is a low-class hornet’s snuggery, I still have a shred of self-respect. So I grab the jerk’s hand off my ass and stare down at him. “Don’t touch it if you can’t afford it.”

His eyes go wide and focus on my grasp of his wrist. The slack-jawed expression on his face almost makes his pawing worth it. The other girls here are powerless to object, but I’m happy to give him the reminder on their behalf: Snuggers are people too.

That said, I can’t push it too far or Meeney might decide I’m not worth the trouble and discount my price.

N. Kelly January 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

TITLE: The Devil you know
GENRE: vampire/paranormal
WORD COUNT: 11,000 (ish)

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH: Konrad Black is a vampire and a homicide detective with a liking for smart suits and regularly spaced shoe laces. One night he is sent to investigate an unsusual case on Cherry Tree Road, what he finds there will change his undead life and possibly not for the better.

FIRST 100 WORDS:

He was an unattractive man, there was no getting round it; his big black eyes were unnerving, high colour in his cheeks contrasted starkly with his pale complexion and to top it all a large roman nose dominated his face.

“I look like a vulture,” he muttered as he clicked his fangs out and flossed them thoroughly, “I’m a vampire who looks like a vulture.”

When he walked into the station recreation room to microwave some blood, conversation tended to stop dead, it didn’t help that he was very tall at 6’3; he towered over everybody.

With a sigh he combed his hair, straightened his parting then checked his collar and tie..

Cherie Reich January 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

TITLE: Defying Gravity
GENRE: Space Fantasy Romance
WORD COUNT: 14,500

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
When the SS Perseid crashes on a post-apocalyptic Earth, Linia, a Persean linguist, is captured by cannibals. Her only chance to escape is to befriend Alezandros, a Medusan space cruiser pilot and her people’s mortal enemy, but when romantic feelings emerge between them, it will be easier to defy gravity than to throw out their customs and survive.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
It’s only a year.

Linia didn’t glance back toward her parents as she stepped upon the silver entry platform of the SS Perseid. This spacecraft held her future. She’d spent the last four years studying linguistics and couldn’t wait for this mission to brave new worlds and meet intelligent life forms in their neighboring galaxies, even if she was the youngest crew member.

Three Perseans stood ahead of her. She shifted from foot to foot, anxious for her turn to enter.

“Saying goodbye to your mommy and daddy, Linia?” An all-too-familiar tenor voice taunted her.

“Griffon?”

She thought she’d left him behind.

Buffy Armstrong January 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Title: The Dark King’s Lover
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 14,500 words

Two-Sentence Pitch:
Immortal witch, Darby Cross, knows better than to trust a faerie, especially the Dark King himself, but she accepts his bargain knowing full well he may take her life. When Black Duff finally gets three days with Darby after years of seducing her in her dreams, he realizes three days with her might not be enough.

First 100 Words:

Even in her dreams, he hunted her.

Darby Cross couldn’t remember the last time she had slept, really slept, without him crawling inside of her mind and lying down beside her. A month. Maybe two. She couldn’t even remember what day it was. Was it August or September? It must be September she thought as she started to drift with the lull of the Greyhound bus. Apples. She had seen signs for pick your own apples in the last town they stopped. She was sure of it. As sure as she was of anything since the night Black Duff murdered her sister.

Dave Perlmutter January 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Title: The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time
Genre: Non Fiction
Word Count: 60k ish

Two Sentence Pitch:
Real Estate agent goes out to celebrate making a good deal but ends up losing his driving licence and job. He then decide’s to go to Spain for the summer and is wrongly arrested for arson of a hotel. With prison looming he has no choice but to flee Spain whilst on bail and never to return.
There is some romance and the story is dark and TRUE. Maybe not what you were requesting but have a read anyway.
Also I am not an author, this is my first attempt at writing.

First 100 Words or so:
It was a cold, bleak May afternoon in London. For the majority of it I’d been stuck in the office and liaising with clients, trying to clinch a sale on a substantial property in the West End. The potential buyer – an arrogant prick with more money than sense – was being particularly difficult, demanding that various items be left in the house before he’d commit to buy. So when the phone rang for the umpteenth time that day and he requested that the hallway mirror be a part of the deal, I almost felt like buying him one myself, just to get the deal in the bag. It had been a week of stupid, unnecessary negotiations and I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. I called the seller, an attractive middle aged divorcee, and told her the news.
“He wants the hallway mirror”
“Oh.”
“If he gets the mirror it’s a done deal, Mrs. Evans.”

Ezzy Black January 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

TITLE: Rebecca Danced
GENRE: Romance/Coming of Age
WORD COUNT: 55,400

When Rebecca arrived at school, wheelchair and all, she immediately reminded Tony of the one thing the rich and wealthy boy could never have—what he’d already lost. His sister Tina sees it too, but as a young prodigy she knows that with just a bit of music, anything is possible.

Freckles.

It was the first thing he noticed in spite of what girls accused boys of all the time. That she couldn’t walk wasn’t obvious unless you’d been asked to help a new girl in a wheelchair. It wasn’t even possible to negotiate the old school without someone to help move the chair up and down the stairs between the buildings.

Gigantic green eyes.

“Hi Fre.. er Rebecca,” Tony stammered. Concentrate on the freckles, you’ll get lost in those eyes, he thought.

“You are so never going to get away with calling me Freckles,” she snapped.

Teeth, she has teeth too.

Dana K. Ray January 11, 2012 at 7:33 am

TITLE: Never Forgotten
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
WORD COUNT: 60,000

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:

Taylor thought nothing could shatter the love between her and Mason, not even finding out about Mason’s 13-year-old son, until Mason is diagnosed with stomach cancer. After Mason’s death, Taylor fears she’ll never get used to her new normal or ever love another man until Cameron shows her how to live life and love again.

FIRST 100 WORDS

Kristen sat in the white rental car outside the small house on the beach. It didn’t look like much to brag about except for the beach part. She slid down in the seat when a car approached. Her heart raced when she saw Mason climb out. He was still a California dreamboat.

She took a deep breath, slowly releasing it as she yanked the keys from the ignition. She had to go now, before she chickened out. In a few minutes, Mason’s life would never be the same. She didn’t really care if this ruined his marriage, Taylor deserved what was coming.

Jaya Lakshmi January 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

TITLE: Neo-Mecca Mayhem
GENRE: Science Fiction
WORD COUNT: 27000

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
When antihero Neil fails to save a girl from her murderous father, he vows to save her twin sister from the same fate. Kaori has no idea she’s identical to a dead girl, and she won’t let anyone label her as a victim.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
The guards ate with grey, plastic chopsticks and used yellow handkerchiefs to catch drips. Guns hung from their belts like dead fish, the way I was hanging from the ceiling, sheathed in silver.
The silver netting hooked me to the ceiling I slid over the glittering camera monitors and grey blobs in uniforms; I could relax my back while shooting electronic signals into the electronic library they were watching. Much like turning on a stacked set of televisions with one remote.
The big problem with keeping data confidential was its portability- once typed up and saved, anyone could hack into it.

Stéphanie Renboit January 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

* TITLE: By My Side
* GENRE: Young-adult contemporary romance
* WORD COUNT: 48,888

* TWO-SENTENCE:
When Lily escaped her house – where her parents were fighting all the time – she always went to her best friend’s house. This night, things were about to change when Gabe – the best friend’s older brother and her archenemy- opened the door and came into her life filed by sarcasms, an alcoholic mother and a disappearing father.

* FIRST 100 WORDS:

What a soft melody to hear a fight between my parents. Unfortunately, this song is no longer new. Now, I know who gave me the talent to swear. “Fuck you!” Said the lovely voice of my mother; a well respected literary agent. Never underestimate the frustration of the lack of curse words in a working-life where every sentence is carefully thought.

“Oh really nice Elizabeth” mumbled my father obviously tired, or more accurately, defeated because he didn’t find a good way to insult her in return -Pathetic. I wasn’t with them, in the huge living-room decorated with modern soulless furniture. I was in my bedroom which faces the staircase. The door open, I waited to run down the metallic stairs and climbed in my Comet for a better place to escape this round of fighting. My best friend’s place for that matter. Silence.

L.K. Below January 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

AUTHOR NAME: L.K. Below
EMAIL: lbelow(at)lbelow(dot)net

TITLE: Hellish Haven
GENRE: Dystopian/Futuristic Romance
WORD COUNT: 23,000 words

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:

In a future when the Senator tells U.S. citizens what to think, the sudden appearance of a husband and son calls into question everything Eva thought she knew. Has her life as she remembers it been nothing more than a lie?

FIRST 100 WORDS:

Eva breathed heavily. Sweat glistened on her skin. Her damp clothes molded to her body.

She stared at the man before her through the blinding light. His slim-shouldered build, pristine suit, and dark goatee seemed comforting. She couldn’t even remember why she shouldn’t trust him, but her gut stiffened every time he drew near.

He held up a needle, filled with translucent amber fluid. It looked different from the normal needles he gave her. She turned her wary gaze onto him instead.

“I won’t do it,” she said. She tried to retreat, but she’d backed into a corner.

Ralph Stonestreet January 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

TITLE: Cave
GENRE: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 14,155

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
When Kenneth Larson, a son of a construction company owner, who was groomed to take over the family construction firm, he decides to face life on his own, which started with him working to pay for and attending a university where he received a masters in geophysics and a minor in ecology, while at the university he lost his marriage with the death of their child, and then a future bride. But when Kenneth found a cave system in Colorado, he set out on his own to build his dream, a self-sufficient underground biosphere system as a pre runner to a similar system to be used to live on the moon, Chloe from his failed attempted to marry in college comes back into his life, he now must decide whether to let her back in, by using her help to stop a pack of werewolf out to kill him as well as her, brought on by his insane ex-wife, in spite of the fact that they pose no real threat.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
As Ken climbed a short rise in the terrain, he came across an opening leading into an underground cave system. The cave’s entrance had a gentle angle of descent, which seemed to continue deeper into the cave system. Upon inspection, the cave’s internal temperature appeared to maintain a constant seventy degrees, with a nice level of humidity around eighty percent; not bad compared to the ninety-degree temperature outside. The thing, which surprised Ken the most about the cave was the absence of bats. The natural colors on the cave walls were beautiful. There were no stalagmites or stalactites growing,

Dorothy Dreyer January 12, 2012 at 10:40 am

TITLE: My Sister’s Reaper
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 60k

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
I didn’t know what scared me more, crashing a graveyard party at midnight or knowing Gavin would be there. Wriggling through the crawlspace in the chain-link fence, I fought off nausea and focused on keeping quiet.

“Ow!” Naomi, on the other hand, was not as discreet. “Watch it, Zadie. Branch, right in the face.”

“Sorry.” Getting to my feet, I extended a hand to help her up. We followed the voices and flickers of light that fell across the faces of headstones. My skin prickled at the thought of some poor soul’s grave being used as a fire pit.

Melinda S. Collins January 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm

TITLE: Hybrid
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
WORD COUNT: 21k (this could go up to fit within Indulgence if needed)

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
A one-of-a-kind preternatural hybrid, Lily Rathbrook, lives in the shadows to protect herself from a power-hungry Vampyre leader, but after joining a CIA task force, she must sacrifice herself to him so her team can save the human race from a breed of Vampyre hybrids under his control.

Army vet Todd Sturgeon joins the task force without knowing the stakes, but when a game-changing secret is revealed about his female teammate, his unforeseen love for her forces him to keep her alive – no matter the cost.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
No matter what happens, don’t move. Let him come to you. Lily Rathbrook repeated the trainer’s advice in her head, over and over, as if repeating them would somehow magically still her body.

“C’mon, Rathbrook,” Sturgeon called down the hall, his voice echoing throughout the single story house like it was on steroids. “I’m the last person you need to worry about.”

Yeah, like she’d ever dream of letting his team win this one.

Sturgeon’s partner, McMillan, snorted from the opposite direction and mumbled, “Keep telling yourself that, Sturg, and one day it might be true.”

Lily smiled to herself at McMillan’s idiocy – just because he spoke in a lower voice than his partner didn’t mean she couldn’t pinpoint his exact location.

Megan Conway January 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm

TITLE: Of Time
GENRE: Sci-fi/Contemporary/Romance
WORD COUNT: 36K

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
After being ripped from her time period of 680 and brought almost 1500 years later, to the year 2009, Freya—with the help of Keith Benson and Abigail Pearce—learns to cope with her ever present memories, learns new things, and creates a new family for herself. But she also discovers the true nature of how and why she was brought to the future, and how what really happened impacted the events that unfold.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
Time meant absolutely nothing to me where I came from. When the sun rose, streaking the morning sky pink and orange, we awoke. When it set, the sky fading to a deep indigo, we lay down and slept. In between, when the sky was a brilliant cerulean blue, we lived in the moment.

We didn’t care how long it took to complete a task because we didn’t believe in deadlines. We didn’t own clocks or sundials or anything of the sort. We just lived.

So, when I was abruptly brought to this new world, I was bombarded with the concept of time.

Jackie Ashenden January 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm

TITLE: Talking Dirty
GENRE: Contemporary/Indulgence
WORD COUNT: 60k

TWO SENTENCE PITCH:

Ugly duckling gadget journalist Christie St John is more geek than chic but when research for an article she has to write on online dating leads into the bed of the hottest guy she’s ever seen, she soon discovers that if the geek is to get the guy, she’s going to have to come out of her digital shell and make a stand for herself once and for all.

An internet blind date was only meant to be a distraction for easily bored technology CEO Joseph Ashton, yet when the chemistry between him and his awkward yet sexy date burns out of control, he begins to understand that this woman is not out for his money, she wants his heart instead – and that’s the one thing he can never allow her.

FIRST 100 WORDS:

Joseph, sitting at Karl’s desk, looked idly around the office, tapping his pen on the desk-top. Christ, he hated waiting. Especially when he was working late and there was a lot of work to be done. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the work, he just wasn’t a fan of sitting still.

It bored him. Just like he was bored now.

Bored. Bored. Bored.

Man, if there was one thing he hated more than waiting, it was being bored. The feeling made him want to go and do something totally outrageous and possibly stupid.

Dropping the pen with a restless movement, he stretched out his legs and put his hands behind his head, staring sightlessly up at the ceiling, trying to think of things that weren’t boring.

Aldrea Alien January 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm

TITLE: Golden Dawn
GENRE: Historical Paranormal
WORD COUNT: 32,000

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
Sired by the blood-thirsty strigoi Stefan, Herald has devoted all 1100 years of his life in protecting his family, allowing his father to farm the surrounding villagers like cattle despite his reservations. But when ordered to guard a crystal imbued with the spirit of an angel, his love for her will endanger everyone for breaking the crystal will level the land and his sisters will do it to ‘save’ him if he does not soon decide where his true loyalty lies: with his family or his heart.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
Moonlight glittered upon the frost-shrouded road. The clatter of horses echoed into the treetops, counterpointed by the rumble of wheels. Steam rose from the beasts’ flanks, billowing out their muzzles in great ashen clouds.

Six men rode either side of the carriage. Hands on sword hilts, eyes narrowed to survey the gloom beyond the swinging lantern light.

Already, Ștefan could smell their fear as they traipsed a land foreign to their eyes. His land. Their dread of what may lurk in the shadows sat sharp against the stench of horseflesh. Not quite heavy enough to taste.

He smiled. That would change.

Joanne Pibworth January 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

TITLE: Shoes, Lies & Videotape
GENRE: Contemporary / Indulgence
WORD COUNT: 50k

TWO SENTENCE PITCH:

Nancy is a good girl dying to be bad, but when she does, she winds up losing both her dignity and her shoes after a close encounter with a sexy stranger in a lift.

Will prince charming track her down and return her Manolos?

FIRST 100 WORDS:

“Have you ever made love with a complete stranger?” the voice close to Nancy’s ear murmured, rich, suggestive, and tremble sexy. Sparks glittered down her spine. She didn’t need to turn around to know who stood behind her.

She shook her head. Closed her eyes as her breath hitched in her throat.

She’d noticed him as soon as she’d perched on the high stool at the hotel piano bar. It was turned midnight, and he smouldered with an old school charisma that set him apart.

Broad shouldered, dark curls that kissed his collar, black tie loosened around the undone shirt buttons at his neck – he looked like he’d tumbled straight from the centrefold of a glossy magazine, and a top shelf, raunchy one at that.

jorja lovett January 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm

TITLE: Titanic’s Ondine
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
WORD COUNT: 14k

TWO SENTENCE PITCH:

Water nymph Madeleine has spent a lifetime searching for the human she can marry to become mortal and finds true love with Joe Marlowe, a crew member of Titanic. Her troubled history with men prevents her from confessing her true nature but with her sweetheart aboard the doomed liner, can she save him and find her happy ever after?

FIRST 100 WORDS:

“I’ve signed on for Titanic.” The excitement in Joe Marlowe’s brown eyes sparkled as bright as the stars shining down on the Southampton docks.

“You never have!” Only days ago, Madeleine witnessed the passenger liner slip into its White Star berth in the dead of night, its sheer size dwarfing her in the water below. She could never have guessed Joe would be part of the circus surrounding it.

A selfish sadness rained down on her to think that great ship would now carry away the love she had spent a lifetime searching for.

Lisa Kelleher January 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

TITLE: FOR THE LAST TIME
GENRE: YA/Coming of Age
WORD COUNT: 60 K

TWO SENTENCE PITCH:
When an awkward moment at a party triggers school-wide bullying, 16 year-old Jennifer Cast’s life becomes a living hell. As parents, teachers, and friends repeatedly let her down, Jennifer descends into a world of pain that she’d rather leave than live with.

FIRST 100 WORDS:

r u ready? <3

come on, answer : {

i don’t have all night: (

It’s my first party as a junior. I haven’t even left my house yet and already I’m freaked out with a stomachache, ready to puke any minute now.

My dresser drawer is filled with twelve stupid T-shirts and none of them fit. They’re either way too short or way too tight. I need something that’s going to make me look awesome that blends in with the color of my vomit. It shouldn’t be too hard; all I’ve had is Vitamin water. If it comes up it will be clear.

My stupid cell phone is going off in the corner of my room somewhere. It’s Liz’s ring tone. Why did she have to mix two songs together to make it half rap and half hip-hop?

Erin Goffin January 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm

TITLE: Kitty’s Guide to Stripping
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
WORD COUNT: 22K

TWO SENTENCE PITCH:

Torn between loyalty and wanting a normal life, a struggling girl finds an unusual job and a guardian to help her. She just has to stop loving a spoiled rich kid to have it all.

FIRST 100 WORDS:

Past due, past due, past due. How had they gotten into this mess and how was she going to get them out?

Lucy Elliot threw the bills on the scarred table in the middle of the tiny kitchen. She traced her fingers along the initials she had carved as a child, remembering. She pictured her mother standing at the sink, her father talking, laughing. Banana Cinnamon Bread in the oven making the kitchen smell warm and familiar. It was light years ago.

She sat in the same place she had sat in for twenty-two years put her head in her hands and cried.

Amanda January 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm

TITLE: A Lesson in Vanishing
GENRE: Thriller with romantic elements
WORD COUNT: 35,000-ish

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
Frances Llewellyn knew that leaving one life behind could mean she’d constantly be looking over her shoulder in the next. But when Frankie’s past threatens to catch up with her, she has to choose: run and save herself, or stay, and get everything she never dared to hope for.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
At 10:30 am, Mackenzie Brewer walks into the Greyhound bus station in east Los Angeles, straight past a bank of lockers, and disappears from view. At 10:40, Frances Llewellyn strides around the battered metal, legs whipping past in battered jeans. A huge camping backpack is slung on her back, and her hair stuffed into a ball cap.

“What’s the next bus leaving this station?”

The girl behind the scarred plastic looks up at Frankie’s question. She puts aside her phone and runs a finger down a schedule glued to the wall. “Um. 10:50. San Diego, leaves from Bay 5.”

Amanda January 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm

TITLE: Shadowdemon
GENRE: Paranormal romance
WORD COUNT: 58,000

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
When Atticus Jordan tells Audrey Thompson she must fulfill an ancient prophecy, to battle the demon army that’s invading Seattle, find their portal, and seal it closed before the city can fall, she wants to laugh in his face. But she can’t deny the strange things she’s seen, the way the violence has ratcheted up in a city that hasn’t seen this much action since the WTO riots…any more than she can deny the explosive chemistry between her and Jordan.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
The server crashed at about 5:00 pm.

“No no no nononono you fucking pile of shit!” Randall smacked his palm against the monitor, tipping it over and letting loose a fresh stream of curses. He was so loud I could hear him over the roar of the Foo Fighters on my headphones, and I pulled them off and spun my chair around.

“Dude. Don’t break the monitor. Billy will skin you for it.” I reached for my mp3 player and hit pause. “What happened now?”

Liv Rancourt January 16, 2012 at 6:19 am

TITLE: Only The Lonely
GENRE: paranormal romance
WORD COUNT: 53,000

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH: A fortysomething single mom gets a Hell of a hickey. It takes guts, determination, and an unexpected assist from a pixie to clear the demon’s bite.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
The two things Molly liked about her Honda CRV were the solid thump it made when she shut the door and the fact that it ran, most of the time. Like everything else in her life, it was used, and as she started it up, she tried not to think about the golden cream Mercedes ML63 SUV she’d left parked in Ford’s driveway. That car had been a dream to drive. Too bad everything else about life with her ex was such a nightmare.

Susie Medwell January 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm

TITLE: First Impressions
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
WORD COUNT: c22K

TWO SENTENCE PITCH:
Peg’s logic tells her that the quickest way to get her hands on her trust fund, and save her sister’s life, is to hook a man. Trouble is her analytical brain says she can do it without involving her emotions, but when her best mate Jake gets involved she finds that life isn’t that simple anymore.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
“What do you do when you’re not chatting men up then?”

Peg Jenkins sent a silent prayer heavenwards. They couldn’t all be this bad, surely? Her eyes swept over the greasy hair, pock marked skin and thin lips, and then back to the brown eyes. She’d concentrate on the eyes. At least they were quite a nice brown. As far as brown went. Except they were a little bit too close together, and the eyebrows kept grabbing her attention. Very thick beetle eyebrows. That met in the middle. She was sure somebody had once told her never to trust a man whose eyebrows met in the middle; which rather messed things up.

Maryanne Fantalis January 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

TITLE: FINDING KATE
GENRE: historical/Shakespeare adaptation
WORD COUNT: 48,000

TWO SENTENCE PITCH: Tormented for years by a perfect sister, a father who plays favorites, and neighbors who revile her, this shrew has her reasons. When she is forced into marriage with a clever, infuriating knight, it takes more than words to convince her that he sees past her armor to the real woman – the real Kate – underneath.

FIRST 100 WORDS:

My father likes to brag that it is entirely due to him that his daughters each made such excellent marriages. He claims that because of his efforts, my sister and I each got exactly the husband we deserved.

My father is absolutely right.

He is also, sadly, a fool.

*

A heavy pounding on our front door announced that someone had arrived. Curious, I went to my bedroom window overlooking the street. I was quite high above, being on the third story of the house, but I could see a group of several men gathered on our steps and hear their voices as they greeted each other.

Dana K. Ray January 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

TITLE: A Second Chance
GENRE: YA/Romance
WORD COUNT: 59,500

TWO SENTECE PITCH:

Raven Pennington is drug to church after a promise she makes at a party and is immediately attracted to the young, handsome preacher but isn’t so sure about his promise of a better life. Matthew finds himself repulsed, fascinated and drawn to Raven by a force he can’t explain and through their unlikely friendship, they both learn valuable lessons of grace, forgiveness and love.

FIRST 100 WORDS

Raven staggered into her bedroom and fell on the bed. The darkness was pressing into her on every side. A shard of light sliced through the room. She tried to focus on the ceiling but the room spun around her. She slid to the edge of the bed until one foot laid flat on the floor, it was supposed to stop the spinning. It didn’t.

Oh, God, she prayed, if You keep me from puking, I swear, I’ll never drink again. It was an empty promise, as deceiving as the alcohol was. The numbness was too short. All too quickly, she’d end up in the same position, praying the same stupid prayer, talking to a God she didn’t know.

Arlene Hittle January 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Title: My Fair Fiancee
Genre: romantic comedy
Word Count: 55,000

Two-sentence pitch:
A DJ fed up with his mother’s incessant matchmaking drafts a grad student on a deadline to finish her dissertation to pretend to be his completely unsuitable fake fiancée. When they decide to make the engagement a real one, they must embark on a makeover campaign to mold her into a bride his mother will accept.

First 100 words
Kristi O’Malley tried not to cringe as yet another overgrown frat boy headed her way, no doubt intent on asking her to dance. She held her breath, hoping he’d pass her over for one of her roommates.

Sometimes it pays to assume, Kristi thought when the stocky man stopped in front of her, his bleary-eyed gaze locked on her chest.

“Hey there, beautiful.” He leaned close enough to expose the cavities in his slack-jawed mouth. “Wanna dance?”

That was the last thing Kristi wanted. Well, maybe the second-to-last. The last thing she’d wanted to do was interrupt her studying to come out in the first place.

Arlene Hittle January 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Title: Overexposed
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Word Count: 56,000

Two-sentence pitch
Super-organized, virginal photographer Breanne Garvey is unprepared for the fallout when she finally succeeds in getting her flirty, bad-boy coworker, Mike James, to notice her. Mike is surprised when a goody-goody like Bree sneaks past his carefully constructed bad-boy image — and even more surprised he wants to let her see the man beneath the legend.

First 100 words
As a rule, Breanne Garvey preferred to have a plan for everything — but not tonight. They were winging it at her soon-to-be ex-roommate’s whim. Since it was her bachelorette party, she got to call the shots.

Bree glanced around at the crowd. Relaxed, happy faces bounced to the beat of the music pulsing through the lecture hall-sized room. Why did everyone but her seem to be having the time of their lives?

She blamed her friend’s choice of entertainment. While The Sword and Stone, the only male strip joint in tiny Willow’s Grove, Indiana, might appeal to some women, Bree was not one of them.

Arlene Hittle January 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Title: Diva in the Dugout
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Word Count: 53,000

Two-sentence pitch:
Determined not to screw up her father’s campaign for mayor again, single mom Melinda Cline has vowed to stay squeaky-clean when she’s faced with her worst nightmare: The return of her baby’s party-hearty father. Faced with an ultimatum to clean up his act or lose his job, Arizona Condors shortstop Dave Reynolds decides the daughter he never knew he had is just the polish his image needs.

First 100 words
As she watched her daughter scramble up a tree, Melinda Cline tried to remember what it was like to be that fearless. She had been, once, before motherhood changed her life. Now, all she could see was the potential for her baby’s adventure to end in tears — or broken bones.

“Come down from that tree this minute.”

If four-year-old Tara recognized the ring of authority in her voice, the child ignored it. Instead, she giggled and hurtled herself over the tree branch as if it were parallel bars.

Mel raised her voice. “Tara Sue Cline, I mean business. Come down — now.”

LisaDiane January 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm

So I tried but couldn’t quite make it to 10k by this deadline, but I’m still shooting for the Feb 1 Special Calls for Submissions deadline. I still wanted to pitch my first 100 words though, so here goes…

Something Blue
Contemporary Romance

*When a middle-aged bride is left at the altar by her fiance she begins to re-evaluate her life and the choices she’s made. Her fiance reappears, and though she’s tempted to hate him she realizes the role she played in their demise, and decides to try something new.

Olivia kneeled at the altar, her feet tucked under her gown. With eyes closed and head bowed, her gloved hands resting in her lap, the left one cupped inside the right, as if preparing for communion. The afternoon sun angled straw-colored rays through the giant stained-glass window that created a halo on the worn gray carpet in front of where she knelt. She could smell the orchids that decorated the rows of oak pews behind her. Pews filled with people an hour ago, except for a few programs left behind, they were now empty.
She had heard her guests clamoring from the rectory, shifting impatiently waiting for an event that was long overdue.

Susan Sipal January 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

TITLE: Southern Fried Wiccan
GENRE: Young Adult w/ romantic elements
WORD COUNT: 51,000

TWO-SENTENCE PITCH:
Determined to pursue her own desires even if they’re not militarily kosher, Cilla Swaney wholeheartedly, if sneakily, delves into searching out her “inner goddess” thingie that she’s been hooked on since viewing Artemis of Ephesus at her last post…even while living with her weird ex-hippie Southern Baptist grandma. But when Cilla teams up with the local snake-loving Goth and soccer-loving Hispanic Hottie to explore Wicca, the Hottie’s best friend and the Goth’s arch-enemy cast their own spell of revenge…and Cilla ends up in a cauldron-full of trouble.

FIRST 100 WORDS:
My troubles all started the day my grandma discovered my grimoire in her armoire. I’d flung it in when she’d called up the stairs for me to “high-tail it out to the barn” and feed the lambs.

Like I’m supposed to know what “high-tail it” means. Me, Cilla Swaney, world-traveling military brat. I spoke four languages but hadn’t yet mastered my native Southern.

Until three weeks and five days ago, I’d only visited I’m-So-Bored-I-Think-I’ll-Die-ville, North Carolina on the few, and thank God brief, furloughs Dad got between posts. Now I was stuck here, FOREVER. Or at least until Mom closed on our new house in Chapel Hill, which seemed to be taking forever.

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