Pitch Madness 2017 Candyland Edition… game on!

Welcome to Team Gumdrop Mountain!

It’s been a long week of reading through all the amazing pitches. Our wonderful readers have narrowed the slush, and your team hosts have chosen seventy pitches for the agent round. To meet the slush readers and hosts go to this post here. And you can find out more about the participating agents on this post here.

For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, it’s a contest where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches and you can find the rules and instructions of the game here.

Our team winners worked so hard on revisions this week, and their pitches, queries, and first chapters are better than ever. I’m co-hosting with the amazing Nikki Roberti! Check out her site and follow her, you’ll be happy you did.

Nikki Roberti
Nikki Roberti
Website | Twitter

YA Contemp author rep’d by of , ‘s assistant, Mentor, Query Editor, Awarded Playwright

Scroll down to view all 10 picks for my team and click on the links to each entry …

Middle Grade

H1: Paranormal Adventure with Southern Roots: BOOGERMEN, HOODOO, AND HAINTS

Three Charleston seventh graders with abilities inspired by the proverb “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” must trust their powers and each other to save their favorite teacher from a mythical creature. READ MORE . . .

H2: Mystery: FOOD TRUCKS AND FIREWORKS

When fourteen-year-old aspiring chef Natalie helps family compete on a cooking reality show, she must uncover a nasty saboteur before Boston’s food truck community is ruined—even if that means risking her chance to win. READ MORE . . .

Young Adult

H3: Contemporary: BOOK OF MINIATURES

Art prodigy, Kenan, trades his paintbrush for a tattoo needle and falls for an anxiety-ridden girl. But overcoming the needle and repainting her fears doesn’t mean she’ll ever love him back.  READ MORE . . .

H4: Science Fiction: THE LAST RELIC

When a vengeful warlord invades her planet with his cyborg army, Princess Lusi must work with exiled rebels to stop a galactic war and unravel a conspiracy to end her race. FROZEN meets STAR WARS.  READ MORE . . .

H5: Dark Fantasy (Own Voices): VITIUM

To resurrect her brother, seventeen-year-old Daniela becomes one of Death’s Aspects: avatars of the Seven Deadly Sins tasked with killing immortals.  But failing will transform her from hit-woman to target. KILL BILL meets FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST.  READ MORE . . .

H6: Contemporary: ALL THE STARS IN THE OCEAN

Surviving high school trapped on Kauai? Manageable. Avoiding a dangerous stalker? A little harder. Trusting a football star who shattered your heart to be your bodyguard? Downright impossible. PRIDE & PREJUDICE meets GILMORE GIRLS.  READ MORE . . .

H7: Contemporary LGBT: A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES

ROMEO AND JULIET with HOUSE OF CARDS twist. Paris seems like the perfect son for an aspiring Republican Presidential candidate, except Paris has a secret: it’s not Julia he wants, but her forbidden boyfriend.  READ MORE . . .

H8: Fairy Tale Retelling: EVERY CINDERELLA HAS HER MIDNIGHT

Seventeen-year-old Hazel is the youngest godmother L.A. has seen in eons, but that’s no excuse to fall for her client’s ‘Charming’. After all, she knows fairy godmothers don’t make their own dreams come true.  READ MORE . . .

Adult

H9: Contemporary Womens’ Fiction: DESIGNER YOU

Pam checked every box: marriage, kid, career? Check. When her husband dies suddenly and their DIY empire goes on life support, Pam must fix the relationship with her troubled daughter and save the family business.  READ MORE . . .

H10: Speculative Thriller: THE NURSERY

When Kenleigh Maize learns a mysterious DNA sequence is the cause of her infertility, she’s invited to participate in a misleading clinical trial. It won’t treat her infertility but may explain the origins of life.  READ MORE . . .

 

Comments are set to moderation so that agents won’t see the other agents’ requests. Please no comments other than those from the agents. After the agent round, we’ll release the moderation and let you all comment on the entries.

We’ll reveal the agent requests on March 17 starting at 4:30 pm Eastern time. All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness, where we’ll tweet the results of the agent round.

 

Join us for the Twitter Pitch Party on March 23 from 8AM to 8PM Eastern time on the hashtag #PitMad. It’s open to everyone!

How do you twitter pitch? You can find all the details here.

 

A huge HUGE thank you to my team and to the wonderful agents!

 

Go to all the other hosts’ blogs to read more winning pitches …

Team Ice Cream Sea – http://www.brenda-drake.com/

Team Peanut Brittle House – https://pintipdunn.wordpress.com/

Team Lollipop Woods – https://rebeccacoffindaffer.com/category/blog/

Team Licorice Castle – http://sharonmjohnston.com/

Team Peppermint Forest – http://wadealbertwhite.ca/blog/

Team Candy Castle – http://samanthajoyce.com/

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H1: MG Paranormal Adventure with Southern Roots: BOOGERMEN, HOODOO, AND HAINTS

TITLE: BOOGERMEN, HOODOO, AND HAINTS

AUTHOR: Jocelyn Rish

AGE CATEGORY: Middle Grade

GENRE: Paranormal Adventure with Southern Roots

WORD COUNT: 46,000 words

PITCH:

Three Charleston seventh graders with abilities inspired by the proverb “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” must trust their powers and each other to save their favorite teacher from a mythical creature.

FIRST 250 WORDS:

Tingling on the left side of my neck froze my pencil on the last question of the bio test. Someone was doing something they didn’t want anyone else to see. Those prickles meant I should look. They demanded I look. But I so didn’t want to.

The only thing to my left was the window, which meant the person who didn’t want to be seen was outside. Probably the janitor digging a wad of wax out of his ear. I’d had to watch him do that several times in the past.

Yesterday the prickles insisted I watch while my geometry teacher pried an enormous chunk of spinach from her teeth. Last week I’d been alerted to a classmate digging out a particularly stubborn wedgie. So gross.

It was like the harder a person thought, “Don’t look at me, don’t look at me,” the stronger my compulsion became.

I shoved my long, brown hair to the left side of my neck in an attempt to smother those stupid prickles. Of course, it didn’t work.

The compulsion became overwhelming. Whoever was outside really didn’t want anyone to see them. I chanted to myself, Don’t look, don’t look, don’t – My shoulders drooped. I braced myself for whatever disgusting thing I was about to see and turned to the window.

The schoolyard was empty. Weird. Was it a prickle false alarm? My eyes were drawn to the woods behind the school.

A pair of glowing red eyes stared back at me.

H3: YA Contemporary: BOOK OF MINIATURES

TITLE: BOOK OF MINIATURES

AUTHOR: Laura Taylor Namey

AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult

GENRE: Contemporary

WORD COUNT: 82,000 words

PITCH:

Art prodigy, Kenan, trades his paintbrush for a tattoo needle and falls for an anxiety-ridden girl. But overcoming the needle and repainting her fears doesn’t mean she’ll ever love him back.

FIRST 250 WORDS:

Here, the needles mean forever, engraving ink into both flesh and time. The gray-black tint will last decades after I lift the tattoo machine from the practice skin, eyeing my design. I’m the only one inking. The other tattoo artists are gone, leaving only faded scents of the vinegar solution we douse over counters and tattoo beds and equipment trays.

My dad dangles my car keys in front of my face. “An hour, Kenan. It’s a––”

“School night. Yeah, I know.”

His prized Micky Sharpz liner sits in my hand, the custom script engraving of his nickname visible on the curved steel frame. Doc. Fitting, because everyone calls my father that. Even me, for as long as I can remember.

Tonight, my hand still shakes, like it has ever since he finally let me try the tattoo machine four years ago. Doc’s liner shouldn’t have been such a big deal back then. I’d swept and polished every inch of our tattoo shop for years. I’d cleaned every screw and coil and spring a thousand times. I knew the width and weight of the steel tube grip like other boys knew their first Rawlings glove. But at thirteen years old, I’d held the grip for the first time as an artist. A heavier weight had pressed into my palm, of what it really was––a tool with the power to draw both artwork and blood.

Doc shrugs into a black jacket. “Lock up the back, too. Sixty minutes.”

H4: YA Science Fiction: THE LAST RELIC

TITLE: THE LAST RELIC

AUTHOR: Mikki Tolley

AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult

GENRE: Science Fiction

WORD COUNT: 82,000 words

PITCH:

When a vengeful warlord invades her planet with his cyborg army, Princess Lusi must work with exiled rebels to stop a galactic war and unravel a conspiracy to end her race. FROZEN meets STAR WARS.

FIRST 250 words:

There are secrets, and then there are lies. My parents insisted all their lies were to protect my secret. But their lies to the Empire were nothing compared to the lie they told me.

“Hold still, Lusi.” My mother barely hid her impatience as she tightened her white-knuckled grip on my father’s arm beside her.

I couldn’t help the glare I cut her way. If I was shaking, it was Dr. Goetz’s fault.

“Almost there . . .” Dr. Goetz gently removed the needle-patch from my arm, careful not to smear the fresh swirls of deep purples and golds painted across my skin. It was Luz Fete: my seventeenth birthday and official crowning. In a few minutes, I would leave my suite of rooms to address the Empire and the League of Nine Worlds, revealing myself to the public for the first time.

My parents held their breaths beside me as they stared at the blood-filled pouch in Dr. Goetz’s hands. Behind them, armed guards encircled us, gripping pulse-rifles with bulging muscles and blank expressions. Their hard presence clashed with the delicate white flower arrangements decorating my prep room. And yet they had become a permanent presence in my wing of the palace.

“Relax,” my mother said, noting my focus on the extra security. “No one can get to you in here.”

“I don’t know.” I eyed each security guard. “They’ve been pretty creative in their attempts to reach me lately.”

H5: YA Dark Fantasy (Own Voices): VITIUM

TITLE: VITIUM

AUTHOR: Steven J. Hanton

AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult

GENRE: Dark Fantasy (Afro-Latino Own Voices)

WORD COUNT: 78,000

PITCH:

To resurrect her brother, seventeen-year-old Daniela becomes one of Death’s Aspects: avatars of the Seven Deadly Sins tasked with killing immortals.  But failing will transform her from hit-woman to target. KILL BILL meets FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST.

FIRST 250 WORDS:

As an Aspect of Death, I know exactly when I’m supposed to die. Down to the very second.

But standing at the top of the New York Times Building, I’m suddenly not so sure. Ambulance sirens below me whirl in my ears and a warm April breeze caresses my face. My lungs expand as I take in a breath. It feels strangely final.

No. I won’t die. And, to prove it to myself, I leap into the open air.

The rushing winds lash against me and rip my cheeks. My blood surges in my ears.

Why the hell do I always do stupid shit?

Terror constricts my throat. For a moment, I can’t breathe. But just as quickly, my adrenaline kicks in. Confidence surges beneath my skin.

“Look at the world, Dani! You run this!” I shout.

Screams from below interrupt my boasting. A kid points in my direction and yells for help. The people on the ground will probably be calling 911 soon. Gotta act fast.

Ignore me,” I command them.

My voice strains in the gusts of air blowing around my face. They can’t hear me hundreds of feet down on the ground, but another Aspect perk is that they don’t need to. As long as I can see them, my commands work.  And sure enough, people return to what they’re doing—buying street meat from sidewalk vendors, laughing with friends, taking pictures.

Good. 

As I turn my head from the crowds, the howling of my inner demon starts.

H6: YA Contemporary: ALL THE STARS IN THE OCEAN

TITLE: ALL THE STARS IN THE OCEAN

AUTHOR: Jennifer Camiccia

AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult

GENRE: Contemporary

WORD COUNT: 73,000 words

PITCH:

Surviving high school trapped on Kauai? Manageable. Avoiding a dangerous stalker? A little harder. Trusting a football star who shattered your heart to be your bodyguard? Downright impossible. PRIDE & PREJUDICE meets GILMORE GIRLS.

First 250 Words:

It’s a universally known fact that the back of a school bus is for the cooler, edgier kids. I avoid the back of the bus with a carefully crafted plan of perpetual lateness. No one in the back will deny me grabbing the first available seat when the bus is already moving and the potential of becoming a human missile grows exponentially every second. Especially after our bus driver has been smoking weed with aforementioned cool kids behind Mitsui Market.

The front of the bus is a landmine for the opposite reason. Students there are on the bottom of the sliding social-scale. Even sitting with them can knock someone’s rep down a notch or two.

The middle is the coveted neutral zone (Star Trek reference for my fellow closeted nerds). Those in the middle can be anything really. I prefer the ambiguity of the middle. And in the middle I can avoid Junior, the second-year senior (second time’s the charm) taking up a whole seat with his shoulders and ego in equal measure.

“Haole girl,” he bellows, as he does every morning. “Come sit by me.”

I pretend not to hear, as I do every morning, and snag a seat next to Calvin. I’m used to being called haole, the Hawaiian word for white. Technically it means foreigner, but in reality everyone knows it means you’re white as a piece of Love’s bread. The irony is I probably have more Hawaiian blood than most of the kids here.

H7: YA Contemporary LGBT: A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES

TITLE: A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES

AUTHOR: Deborah Kreiser

AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult

GENRE: Contemporary LGBT

WORD COUNT: 60,174 words

PITCH:

ROMEO AND JULIET with HOUSE OF CARDS twist. Paris seems like the perfect son for an aspiring Republican Presidential candidate, except Paris has a secret: it’s not Julia he wants, but her forbidden boyfriend.

FIRST 250 WORDS:

I took a deep breath to steady my nerves. Expensive perfume, aged whiskey, and leather paneling—the room smelled like money, like all of these events I attended alongside my dad. He enjoyed being known as the sympathetic widower who single-handedly raised me to be “The Success I Am Today,” so I was always trotted out for the high-profile gigs.

Focusing on my role as official sidekick, I surveyed the scene from the top of the ballroom stairs and caught my first glimpse of him mingling below: Montae Romero was pure hotness, sharply contrasting with the older, fleshier crowd. I couldn’t ignore the heat rising in my cheeks and the sudden twist in my stomach; part dread, part anticipation, and part something I couldn’t—wouldn’t—name.

I struggled to compose myself and straightened my tie again. My dad brushed by, the odor of his overpriced cologne distracting me from my reverie. His aide, Sam, standing at attention, asked, “Ready, Mr. Secretary?”

Picking at imaginary lint on my sleeve, Dad examined me one last time, then nodded and gave a thumbs-up. “Born ready, Sam.” He let out his trademark guffaw, strutting in his custom-made designer tuxedo and Italian shoes. Music boomed from speakers hidden around the room, while lights glistened off the beadwork on the women’s fancy gowns.

Carefully, I trained my eyes away from that spot below where I knew Montae had last been standing. He was forbidden fruit in more ways than one.