Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Birth of Jodimitts

So yesterday was a whirlwind of Baker's Dozen entries, with all 100 slots filling up several hours before the closing time.  Last night Jodi and I spent our first Slushtime together (always fun!), and tomorrow's round two of adult submissions--so today is going to be chill-out-and-look-at-mitt-photos day.

Because you all know that jodimitts are almost the only thing that keeps me writing during the winter.

This story begins with a tragedy:  My original jodimitts died.  As in, DIED.

*moment of silence*

I did not beg, whine, cajole, or sob at Jodi.  She simply announced that she intended to knit me a new pair of mitts. "I'll let you pick out the yarn!" she piped.

(Isn't it awesome how we can get away with using stupid dialogue tags when we're blogging? It's a great way to get it out of our systems so the words don't show up in our novels.)

So she sent me a picture of her Yarn Closet (yes, it deserves to be capitalized) and told me to mark my 5 favorites.  Which I did.

A few minutes later, she sent me this picture and asked which one I like better.  (I'm not sure how she narrowed it down, but you can see that they're both absolutely luscious.)  I fell in love with the one on the right!  Here's the cool part:  the yarn is a mixture of wool and seacell, which is made from seaweed fiber.  Of course, when she told me that, I loved the yarn even more, because it meant that I'd have MERMAID MITTS.

 The other wonderful part about this yarn is that Jodi spun it herself.  For the uninitiated:  This means that Jodi bought the yarn fiber (all soft and fluffy and cloud-like) and spun it by hand into the yarn you see here.  She uses a small, handheld spindle, and--well, it's amazing.  The picture at left is my beautiful yarn all rolled into a ball, ready for knitting.

So maybe I put this picture on my desktop while Jodi was making my mitts.  Not that I was counting the seconds to my new jodimitts or anything.

Because Jodi is a master at TENSION and ANTICIPATION (which you already know if you've ever read her books!), she sent me the following picture a few days later.  Sort of a mitt ultrasound:

I stared at that for a while and felt grateful that the temperature had warmed and I wasn't in dire need of the mitts.  Not that I wasn't twitching every time I glanced at the picture, anyway.  Jodi had let me choose the pattern for the mitt, so I was excited to see it coming to life beneath her needles.  So beautiful already!

The Big Reveal happened on her blog.  She slyly left the link in my IM box and waited for me to squeal at her when I saw the photo below.  (Yes, of course I squealed.)

And there you have it--my beautiful new jodimitts!  There is nothing as precious as a heartfelt, handmade gift from someone who loves you--and who knows the pleasure this simple-yet-not-simple gift will bring.  (I mean, yes; warm mitts are a simple pleasure.  But spinning and knitting a pair by hand is NOTHING CLOSE TO SIMPLE.)

Naturally, you want to see me wearing them.  So I offer you Authoress In Winter Hat With Mitts:

All set for cold weather.  Bring it on, Winter!  In my jodimitts, I can conquer the world.  (Or at least these revisions, which have been biting my butt this week.)

Best part?  It's like wearing a piece of Jodi's heart every day.  And that's a true gift!  Thank you, Jodi, for the mitts and for your friendship.  Unlike the mitts, you are utterly irreplaceable!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baker's Dozen Submissions Today!

Wooooo!!  ADULT CATEGORY submissions open at 9:00 am EDT!


If you run into any technical difficulties during the submission process, please email me at facelesswords(at) or ping me on Twitter (@authoressanon).

Also, if you are having trouble submitting because of power outages, please remember that there is a second window on Thursday, and that I am planning on opening a third, emergency window as needed.

Let the fun begin!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Secret Agent Winners

3rd place: #1 The Lights in the Sky Are Stars 

The prize: A partial request of the first 50 pages

2nd place: #49 Flutter

The prize: A partial request of the first 100 pages 

1st place: #43 Where the Staircase Ends 

The prize:  A full request.

And Michelle says: "All the other entries get gold stars."

Congratulations, all!  Winners, please email me at facelesswords(at) for specific submission instructions.  


It's the first Big Week!  Tuesday and Thursday are our submission windows for the ADULT CATEGORY ONLY.  If yours is MG or YA, your submission windows are NEXT week.

  • Adult submissions will be open on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30 and THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EDT.
  • During the appropriate submission window, send your LOGLINE and the first 250 words of your COMPLETED AND POLISHED MANUSCRIPT. 
  • The word count is set at 310.  This allows for a maximum of 60 words for your logline.  (Most loglines are shorter than this.)
  • To submit, GO HERE and follow the directions. Be sure to check your word count and preview your entry before hitting "submit."
  • YES, you may submit your entry if you were in any Secret Agent contests this year.
  • NO, you MAY NOT submit if you were one of last year's 60 Baker's Dozen entrants...UNLESS it is a DIFFERENT MANUSCRIPT.
  • NO, you MAY NOT submit more than one manuscript in the same category.  You may, however, submit one entry in each category (1 adult and 1 MG/YA).
  • All entrants must pay an $10 entry fee. You will be asked to pay before your entry is completed. You do not need a Paypal account to pay the fee (you should be given the option to use a credit card), though it's certainly easier when you do have an account.
  • Please do not enter if you are already agented.
  • Please notify me if you receive an offer of representation prior to the announcement of winners.  Also, please understand that the entry fee is non-refundable.
  • By entering this contest, you are giving implicit permission to have your work posted and publicly critiqued.
  • All non-winning entries will be given the option for public critique at a later date.  Details to be announced.

There has been some interest among potential entrants in submitting 1 YA and 1 MG in next week's submission window.  As of now, I have the contest set to accept ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON.  I am loath to change that, since I really want to limit entries in each category to one per person.  If you are personally interested in submitting one MG and one YA, please let me know in the comment box below.  I'll see if I can come up with something.


There is a huge storm coming!  (Oh, you knew about this? ;P)  If there is widespread submission chaos in the Northeast due to power outages, I WILL PROVIDE A THIRD, STORM-FREE WINDOW.  So please don't panic.  I'll be keeping my eye on this.

Secret Agent Unveiled: Michelle Witte

Thanks and cheers for this month's Secret Agent: Michelle Witte of Mansion Street Literary Management!

Michelle's bio:

As a children's literary agent with Mansion Street Literary Management, Michelle Witte brings with her a wealth of experience within the publishing industry, from the conception and writing stages to editing, design, and production, as well as bookselling and publicity.

Previously she worked as an editor with nonfiction publisher Gibbs Smith and as a copy editor with the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City. She is the author of The Craptastic Guide to Pseudo-Swearing (Running Press, 2012) and the forthcoming Faker's Guide to the Classics (Lyons Press, 2013).

Please note that Michelle is currently closed to submissions.

Winners forthcoming!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fricassee

This is not a rant.  It is a revelation.

I just got back from my (way too) early morning grocery run.  (Note to the wise: Want to experience NO CROWDS EVER? Do your shopping at 7 in the morning. Seriously.)  I'm a sucker for the clearance display, even though it's usually stuff-I-would-never-buy.  Like jars of artificially-red ham glaze, questionable health supplements, and post-Jewish-holiday processed Kosher food-in-a-box. 

This morning, though, the clearance display touted a motley collection of books.  Yes, books.  And among the cheaply-bound recipe books and other nondescript titles were two or three paperback copies of a teen classic-literature-meets-vampire by a well-known imprint, both of which will remain unnamed.

Before I even read the title, the cover art grabbed my attention. It. Was. Awful.  It almost had the do-it-yourself look of so many self-published books out there.  (And I'm not knocking self-published books. I have one out there myself.  And I paid a professional graphic artist to design my cover.)

Yes.  It was that bad.  It was really that bad.

Succumbing to morbid curiosity, I opened the book and started to thumb through.  And I can't even express to you how poorly written it was.

Yes yes yes, subjectivity and all that.  Maybe some of you would pick it up and adore it.  You're allowed to.  That's part of the beauty of all the arts, right?  So many tastes, so much to choose from.

But honestly?  I work really hard at my craft.  As in, really hard.  And I know many of you do, too.  I have by no means "arrived", and so I continue to work really hard.  The words are important to me.  Their beauty, their cadence, their subtlety.  A story's voice is encapsulated in its words, and we all know how important voice is.

So it would be easy to pick up a (travesty of a) book like this on a rushed Friday morning and become OH SO BITTER.  As in, "I bleed from my fingers every day as I craft my novels, and this is what gets published?"  And, "I work incredibly hard to create well written stories for young people, and this is what is selling for teens?"

You know what I'm saying.

Here comes the revelation:  It doesn't matter.  My works--the stories of my soul--have absolutely nothing to do with what else is out there.  The time and effort I spend on my novels is by no means cheapened by what I perceive as lesser-quality work.  And the fact that excellent writing is important to me does not make me any better--or any more deserving--than those who have landed contracts with projects that I might personally find less well crafted.

I'm allowed to hate a book I find on a grocery store shelf, and you're allowed to love it.  We will never all agree on what is good and what is really good and what sucks beyond human comprehension.  Yes, there are standards of "good writing" in general--if there weren't, then we'd all experience literary anarchy.  But in the end, it just doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter!

So keep writing.  There's nothing else to do, really.  And keep reading books and allowing the really good ones to sink deep into your psyche and affect your own writing.  I'm going to continue to be inspired by my peers who do write well -- Jodi Meadows and Beth Revis and Joan Paquette and CJ Redwine and Myra McEntire and Peter Salomon and Geoff Rodkey and Victoria Schwab and Erin Bowe.  And countless others who are crafting well written stories for young people.

And there it is--my grocery store revelation.  Happy writing!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Final Logline Critique Opportunity!

The big-hearted K.T. Crowley is opening her blog for a second time!  This logline critique round is for:
  • Anyone who tried to get into one of the Logline Critique Rounds on MSFV, but didn't get chosen in the lotteries
  • Anyone from ROUND THREE who has a revised logline and would like feedback
Here are K.T.'s submission instructions:

Please send submissions to ktcritiques [AT] by 10 PM EDT Friday night, October 26.  I will post them Saturday morning, October 27, at KTCROWLEY.COM for critiquing.

In the subject, please state “BD LOGLINE” (and your original post number, if this is a revision). 

Submit your logline just like when submitting to Miss Snark's First Victim. Your submission should look like this: 

TITLE: Your Title Here 
GENRE: Your Genre Here 

(Logline here.) 

A confirmation email will be sent, but it may not be right away. Only resend if you don't get one by the last hour of the submission window. If you enter, please critique five other entries, so that it's fair for everyone. 

I'll accept up to 60 entries.

Hooray!  If you have questions for K.T., please post them below.  Also free free to throw flowers and chocolate at her feet.  Because, yanno, this is very generous and kind!

October Secret Agent #ALT-2

GENRE: MG contemporary with paranormal elements

The green wicker bench: painted by Dad and me last summer.

The 100 year-old oak tree: home to robins, squirrels, and an occasional kid.

The Camp Store with green trim: where a camper can buy cheese puffs, a whoopee cushion, and worms all at the same time.

If I focus hard enough on each of these things, maybe I can calm the aching in my chest that feels like I’ve been underwater for too long.

Mom sits on the bench and pats the seat next to her.

“Come on, Sadie. We’ll wait here for Mrs. Z to bring the key to Dad’s house.”

I collapse onto the bench. The sign for the campground looms large in front of me, the little green turtle’s footprints tracing a path all around the words “Turtle Cove Campground” and “Owner: Peter Elliott.” My chest constricts a little tighter.

I wonder if Mom is the owner now.

I dig around in my bag, making extra noise to hide the sniffle that I can’t stop. My hand brushes against my vision journal, but I push that down further. I guess I should have told Dad about my visions of Becky last summer. I pull out my sketchbook and a pencil, instead.

I sketch the outline of the campground sign and the road leading into the Turtle Cove. I feel like I need to capture it all, because you never know when life is going to kick your legs out from under you.

October Secret Agent #ALT-1

GENRE: YA Contemporary

Red and blue lights dance off the roof of my mother’s car.

I groan and lean back against the seat. The movement makes my head spin and my stomach rolls. The pain is unbearable. Like thousands of ice picks hammering into my temple at once.

Pushing against the steering wheel, I try to shift away from the pain. My hand slips and my elbow slams into something hard. I grunt and cradle my arm against my chest. Blood covers my hand. It’s smeared across my shirt and the soaked fabric clings to my skin. It’s sticky and uncomfortable.

It’s dark. I don’t understand why I’m in the car. I can’t even pin down my last memory. It feels like days ago that I was at Logan’s house. But it was just this afternoon, right? Maybe?

I squint to make out the objects past the cracks in the windshield. A tree has sprouted through the hood of the car, its branches splayed across the glass. I turn stiffly to my right. More trees. How the hell did I make it this far into the woods in a car?

A distant memory floods my consciousness. Lily. My dad.

Panic seizes my body. The air is thick, like molasses, and I can’t get enough as I gulp for more. Each breath I take sends a shock of pain rocketing through my chest as my lungs expand against my tender ribs. The blood rushing to my brain pounds against my skull and I lean over in time to vomit.

October Secret Agent #50

TITLE: My Sister's Dating a Serial Killer
GENRE: YA Thriller

A campfire smell fills the air and I bounce along on my mountain bike down Bonner Woods Road after school, trying to figure a way out of the mess I'm in. I have no excuse for flunking my Physics quiz, except I couldn't study because I was busy spying. The damage to my skirt happened when I climbed Mrs. Jorgensen's locked gate to see if she was poisoning her husband's tea.

Mom won't buy any of this. She's told me a zillion times to stop being an amateur detective.

Behind me, somewhere close, a loud car engine revs to life, making me totally forget my skirt and quiz.

When a red convertible roars out of the woods and bears down on me, panic floods through me like ice water.

In my head, I hear Mom's voice calling to me. "Bad things come in threes, Cammi. Watch out."

She's right. I stand on my pedals to pump more speed from my bike. My third bad thing can't be me under that car.

I white knuckle the handlebars, fighting to stay on. The bike jumps into the air when I hit a bad patch of broken-up pavement.

When we smack back down onto the road again, I pedal faster until my thighs burn under my gym-class shorts.

The rumble of the car engine surges closer.

My bike skids off the road and I plummet down a steep ditch into the thick woods.

October Secret Agent #49

GENRE: MG (magical realism)

Mandy pulled a marigold out of the vase on the kitchen table and snapped the stem short. “You look handsome, Grandpa,” she said, and stuck the golden-orange blossom in his button hole.

“Thank you, darlin’. He grinned and bent at the waist in a courtly bow. “Got to make a good impression on the judges.”

Mandy rinsed her cereal bowl and left it in the sink, then followed Grandpa outside to the old white truck. She yanked hard to unstick the rusty passenger-side door. Grandpa was already revving the engine, the sound muffled in the fog that clung to the hills. They bumped down the gravel road, tires churning up a cloud of dust, then turned onto the blacktop that led to the highway.

The dewy fields and orchards sped by, row after row, mile after mile, the colors and patterns flowing together in a blur. The engine thrummed a steady, rumbling rhythm and the truck’s heater blasted stale warmth. Mandy rolled down the window and squinted her eyes against the rushing wind. Her hair whipped around – it almost felt like she was flying. She’d whoosh right out the window and up into the air, soaring high into the blue sky, the cool wind under her wings. She smiled to herself. Arms. The cool wind under her arms.

Loose papers began blowing around inside the truck. Mandy rolled the window closed.

Grandpa glanced at her. “You feelin’ sick? Want me to pull over?"

"I'm okay." Mandy rummaged in her backpack and pullled out a hairbrush.

October Secret Agent #48

TITLE: Pirate Island
GENRE: MG contemporary adventure

My best friend, Andy, and I were picking—okay stealing—blueberries dangerously close to Old Man McGoo’s house when the distinct slam of a screen door told me we were about to get caught.

“Get outta my blueberry patch, you lousy kids!” McGoo yelled in a raspy voice.

I sealed the plastic bag I had been filling and tossed it into my new backpack. Andy—the genius who had come up with the idea of stealing blueberries from one of the meanest men in town—was already halfway across the field. I hightailed it after him, scaled the chain-link fence with ease, jumped on my bike, and pedaled down the dirt road.

I glanced back to see Old Man McGoo shaking his cane at us. He hadn’t made it very far off his back porch and was too far away for me to hear if he was still shouting. I guessed he probably was.

McGoo wasn’t his real name, of course. It was McGee, but Andy had dubbed him Old Man McGoo because of the nasty spittle that always stretched between his lips when he opened his mouth. It wasn’t a very nice nickname, but he wasn’t a very nice guy and it wasn’t worth arguing with Andy about it.

Andy skidded his bike to a stop when we reached the main road. Even though there was no way Old Man McGoo was going to chase after us that didn’t keep my heart from pounding any less.

October Secret Agent #47

TITLE: Girl|Alien
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Move! Lives are at risk!

Grett’s body rose from her seat and tensed, ready for any emergency. Her Sophomore Language-Arts teacher stopped her boring recital in mid-sentence. Grett’s nose twitched, her ears tingled, and her hair shivered.

Detecting combustion products: CO, CO2, Pyrolytic carbon. Amplifying ambient noise: distress calls, location undetermined.

Moments later, the fire alarm shrilled, a choir of bells echoing throughout the school. Grett’s gaze shot to her brood-sister Sare who sat next to her. Sare’s eyes went wide.

Grett and Sare ran from their classroom, pushing past the other students into the still-empty hall. As Warrior-class students, the safety of Wide Sky High School was their responsibility, their mission. Teachers called for calm and order, but they were ill-equipped to handle this form of emergency. This was a Warrior’s job.

They had seconds to assess the situation before the hallways flooded with panicked students. Grett prayed that some prankster has yanked the alarm to avoid a test, but her nose confirmed the acrid scent of burning.

Engaging Protocol 3: Emergency Mode.

Her earpiece rattled. “Kitchen fire,” called a Warrior. “Thirty students in the cafeteria, elementary grade.”

Not the little ones! Engaging Protocol 58.B: Burst mode.

Grett felt the same as Voice, her ever-present cranial companion. She swore under her breath and turned to Sare. “Evac Main Hall.” Sare nodded and raced down a side hallway.

Grett sprinted past lockers, dodging the throng of screeching youngsters. Smoke crept along the ceiling and a tide of frightened girls turned directly into her path.

October Secret Agent #46

TITLE: Remembered
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

Two-hundred thirteen, two-hundred fourteen, two-hundred

“Mademoiselle Ashford,” Old Maid Travers snapped, her nasal inflection sharp enough to break crystal. Or give AJ a headache.

Feeling one begin to form, AJ dropped her gaze from the holes in the ceiling tiles to the annoyed eyes watching her from behind thick glasses perched on what looked more like a beak than a nose. Beneath that nose, thin—the only part of her teacher that could be called thin—lips frowned. Madame Travers held a textbook open in one thick hand while her other grasped the stapler sitting on the desk at the front of the classroom, which she’d apparently been banging on to get AJ’s attention.

Well, she had it now.

“Yeah, Madame Travers,” AJ said. Whoever made two years of foreign language a requirement for graduation really deserved to be hit with the book Madame Travers held, and the stapler. For good measure.

A few stifled giggles broke out until Madame Travers glared the offenders to silence. “ En francais, s’il vous plait, Mademoiselle Ashford.”

AJ set down her pen. “ Oui, Madame Travers. Comment puis-je vous aider?”

She stumbled over the words, but the sarcastic intent wasn’t missed. With a raised eyebrow, Mrs. Travers launched into a full discourse, during which her French flew so quickly and eloquently, AJ only caught every other word.

And only understood one of every five of those.

Silence hung heavy in the classroom until Madame Travers spoke again. “Daydream on your own time, Miss Ashford.”

October Secret Agent #45

TITLE: Into the Ether
GENRE: YA Dark Fantasy

She killed him with a piece of lace from her wedding gown.

Or, at least, she thought she did.

The truth was, when his soul cleaved from his body and rose with the lightness of a soap bubble toward the ever after, he felt it all. He felt the trembling of her hands as they flew, pink and swollen, to her face. He felt the warmth of her breath as she exhaled: a strange sound somewhere between disbelief and delight.

He felt the tickle of joy he usually got at the sight of her smile when she moved her hands to reveal a grin.

That, more than anything—more than her betrayal, more than his death, more than what it would mean for his family—made him sad. That even though she’d murdered him, he still loved her.
Wind rushed over him as she grew smaller and smaller below, as he gusted away toward the clear starry sky and whatever waited for him there. The moon clung to the horizon, huge and yellow. Perhaps that was where Paradise lie, on the dark side of the moon.

But he headed straight up, away from the moon and into the darkness between the stars. For a moment, it seemed as if the entire universe stretched before him. And then he was sucked somewhere . . . between. A tidal wave of force grabbed what little form he retained and pulled him into a place that was nowhere, and everywhere.

October Secret Agent #44

GENRE: YA Paranormal

It was supposed to be the best weekend of my life. I had it all planned out. Dying? That wasn’t part of the plan.

It started out just as I expected, at least. I stepped off the bus and out into the most beautiful afternoon. I closed my eyes and inhaled the sweet scent of spring, savoring every detail, before moseying across the suburban road. Finally home.

I admired the yellow and pink blooms framing the path to my front door. I’d helped plant the flowers years ago, back when those colors had been my favorites. A lot of things had changed since kindergarten.

My thoughts drifted from the plans of the coming weekend to memories of my previous birthdays. I sifted through the images of candle-laden cakes and the smiling faces surrounding them, focusing on one in particular. His absence in the more-recent mental snapshots made my heart ache.

As I got closer to the front door, Mom’s voice pulled me from my reminiscence. She was in there, toiling away to remove the imaginary layer of dirt she swore coated everything no matter how recently she’d cleaned it. A smile crept up my lips as I gripped the door handle. It was almost time for my ball and this Cinderella had handed in her broom for the weekend.

“Oh!” I cried as I stumbled forward. Strong arms caught me. Intending to apologize for my uncommon clumsiness, I looked up at the stranger holding me and inhaled sharply. “Do I…know you?”

October Secret Agent #43

GENRE: YA Supernatural Mystery

I never noticed my pointy elbows. They were thorny things, jutting out from my sides like useless wings. I flattened them against my body. I didn’t want to give anyone yet another reason to avoid me.

It didn’t help.

A line of three girls made an unnecessary show of skirting past me, exchanging smirks with the subtlety of elephants. Once out of view I heard the hiss, hiss, hiss of heated whispers passing between them.

That was her, right? She’s the girl?

I fought the urge to spin around and shoot venom right back at them, but I didn’t want to waste my words on three girls I didn’t care about yesterday. Besides, Sunny was the one who caused this whole mess.

No one was at Sunny’s locker when I passed by. Without the swarm of bodies and hum of morning activity it looked like any other locker in any other hallway. The only sign that it meant something more was the key-scratched heart and initials I carved into the tan paint earlier that year.

I & J

My heart lurched. Had Sunny gotten to him, too?

The hallways seemed longer than they had before, twisting labyrinth-like between the classroom wings. Posters hung above archways, their edges curling into the hand painted block letters like they were ashamed of the drips and wrinkles in the imperfect writing announcing the upcoming spring formal. I straightened my shoulders. I would not be like the posters.

October Secret Agent #42

TITLE: Molly Long Legs and The Sleeping Bug
GENRE:  Middle Grade. Magic Realism

Molly discovered her ability on the last night of summer vacation. Looking under the bed for her lucky pencil case, she came across one of The Boy’s baby books. The Boy was the nickname Dad used for her two year old brother, Herbie. Herbie must have left it under her bed earlier that day when they had been playing hide and seek.

The book was called The Lemon Bears. Its pages were full of bright, vibrant colours with large pictures of strange cuddly animals. Molly was way too mature to read such a book, but with nothing else to do she decided to take a quick look. Molly sat on her bed and began to read.

One day, Baby Lemon Bear went for a walk in her garden.

As Molly read the words something amazing happened. The dull white walls of her bedroom began to turn bright blue. But they were no longer walls, they were the sky. Her bed had disappeared as well. As had the floor, the ceiling, the curtains, the dressing table, the wardrobe, and her new desk and chair. Even her small battered television, which she was only allowed to watch at specific and rather unfair times, had disappeared. Everything, gone. Vanished.

Molly was in The Lemon Bear world.

October Secret Agent #41

GENRE: MG Urban Fantasy

The smell of cheap plastic and fake gold filled the mall. My mom said no one could smell the difference between gold and cheap chrome, but I could tell the difference. My best—only—friend, Beth had stopped between a kiosk and a store that sold clothes for full figured Goths. Beth stared at a blue jacket covered in buckles and straps.

“Try it on,” I said.

Beth shrugged. “Their clothes never fit right. They’re a little too optimistic,” she said pointing at her chest. “I can bench a bull, Allyson, but I’m not wining any wet T-shirt contests.”

“How do you know unless you try it on?” I pushed her toward the window, and she stumbled into the foot traffic. I must have caught her by surprise; she was the immovable object. Refrigerators were intimidated by Beth. She was tall, blond, and ready to go pro wrestler at the drop of a hat. I’d seen daintier linebackers on ESPN.

I, on the other hand, had the look of well bred mutt. Eyes too slanted to be Irish, too green to be Japanese, and all of it covered in a fine layer of damning pimples. I looked like a reject from a geisha convention.

A guy even taller and broader than Beth caught her before she stumbled into an innocent passerby. He set her back on her feet like she weighed nothing. My jaw popped open.

“Sorry, my friend’s overly enthusiastic.” Beth straightened her jacket and brushed at imaginary dust.

October Secret Agent #40

TITLE: Apple Boxes
GENRE: MG Contemporary Fiction

“Hey Ace, are you in here?” I heard my dad holler through the garage door, “I need you to come out here and give me a hand.” Ugh, I thought, what now. I put a bookmark between the pages of my book and tossed it aside, slipped on some sandals, and headed out front.

Dad’s truck was parked in the driveway, the back full of empty apple boxes. I stopped in my tracks and sighed. Oh man, here we go again.

“Dad, does this mean what I think it means?”

“Do you think it means we’re moving?” he replied with a tinge of sarcasm in his voice.

“Well, I admit it’s the first thing that came to mind.”

“Then yes, oh Observant One, you are correct.”

Apple boxes. It’s always apple boxes. Occasionally a banana box finds its way home, but mostly apple. They are the perfect size, he says. And they usually have cut out handles – makes them easier to carry. He also works at a grocery store, which makes them easy to come by.

“Already?” I asked, “We haven’t even been here six months.”

“The owner put this house on the market,” my dad replied as he dropped the tailgate of the truck. “I’m not going to sit around here and wait for them to kick us out. Mom and I found another place not too far from here and we can move in right now. Might as well get it over with.”

I sighed and grabbed a couple of boxes.

October Secret Agent #39

TITLE: Rachel On Fire
GENRE: YA Contemporary

One week of make-my-brain-hurt studying for things I barely cared about and then I’d be free for the summer. I grabbed my iPod and started cleaning my room to the blasting beat of Katy Perry’s California Girls. Procrastination is key during the week of exams. I’d do anything to not face the harsh reality of studying – even clean. I was in mid dance-and-clean mode when my bedroom door swung open.

“Rachel!” My mother’s face was flushed. “Rachel!”

I pulled an ear bud out of my ear. “Yeah?”

“I’ve been calling you. Can you come downstairs for a family meeting?” I looked at the digital clock on my bedside table. 9:32 am. “Now?”

“We’re in the dining room.” She closed the door. A family meeting at 9:30am on a Saturday morning? I wondered what we could possibly have to meet about this early, but the thought was fleeting. I figured my parents just wanted to lay down some ‘once the summer starts’ laws. I threw my iPod on my bed and headed down stairs. Even a family meeting was better than studying, right?

When I got to the dining room, my dad was sitting at the head of the table, his hands folded casually in front of him. My brother Alex dozed in the chair beside my dad.

“Want something to drink, Rachel?” My mom asked from the adjoining kitchen. The scent of freshly brewed coffee swam up my nose.

“Nah, Alex may need some though,” I said. My dad touched Alex’s shoulder.

October Secret Agent #38

TITLE: The Brewer

Tyler Higgins slanted his eyes at his friend, Ethan Montour, seated next to him at the lunch table.

With shaky hands, Ethan unwrapped a sandwich and absently stared at his food through smudged glasses. Then his eyelid started twitching.

Tyler stopped munching his PB&J. Dang it. Here we go again. But what could he do? He swallowed down his mouthful. “So, Ethan. Tuna, eh?”

“What? Oh.” Ethan peeled the bread back. “Yeah. Tuna fish and tomato.” He poked a tomato slice with his index finger, pushing it off the tuna.

“Thought it was your favorite?”

“Um, sure.” Beads of perspiration formed on Ethan’s brow, and his skin looked pasty. “Except for the tomatoes.”

“What’s the point of tuna and tomato without tomatoes?” Tyler tried to keep his tone light, but this was too weird. Up until a month ago, the old Ethan would have wolfed down any sandwich, tomatoes and all.

“Yeah, pointless.” Ethan flicked the other tomato off.

Seated across the table, fellow eighth-graders Audrey Harding and Maddy Hollenback chattered and giggled, oblivious. He wasn’t sure why the girls lunched with him, maybe pressure from the youth group leaders. Though he’d been here three months, he still felt like an outsider—except with Ethan.

Frowning, he set down his sandwich. These days, he’d rather avoid the seventh-grader whose crazy mood swings and weird stupors didn’t help them blend into the crowd. Definitely no fun. But Ethan had been nice to him when everyone else acted like he had snot smeared on his face.

October Secret Agent #37

TITLE: My Future Girlfriend's Comatose and I'm Toast if I Call 911
GENRE: YA Fantasy

A crash cart double parked inside Mike’s chest while waiting to see Teagan in a dress, hair combed and not under a baseball cap. She decked out to visit her twin sister in chronic care, knowing somehow it made, Sleeping Beauty happy. Well, she didn’t make Mike happy, marching up the walkway with her dress tucked into track pants. The ponytail draped outside her cap and Rachel (who nicknamed him, MGM--middle-grade-Mike) completed the disappointment.

“You could have punched my shoulder,” Mike said, punching the sympathy button.

Teagan’s eyes sparkled. “You could have asked permission before kissing me.”

“You struck out twelve guys. I got excited.”

Rachel smirked. “Doesn’t Mike striking out with you make it thirteen?”

Teagan’s sparkles became lasers. “Play nice.”

“Why? School starts Monday, unless our fresh freshman takes shop and builds a time machine to get his parents to drink that bottle of wine two years earlier he’s invisible to us juniors.”

Teagan sighed. “Mike, things are different . . . ”

She continued talking, but her words faded behind the reason his ‭jaw and heart felt broken. Simple as 1-2-3. ‬One year, two months and three days. Their age difference—his Kryptonite. Mike panicked. “Age won’t matter after we— ”

“What? Get married?” Rachel cackled. “Careful holding hands during the séance, someone might bend a knee.”

Mike ignored Rachel, hoping she’d leave on her broom. His heart needed to hear Teagan laugh. “Why we messing with voodoo dolls anyway?”

“I promised my sister and they’re not voodoo dolls.”

“Good, because I forgot to bring a chicken.”

October Secret Agent #36

GENRE: YA dystopian with heavy romantic elements

Noplace in D-town to escape the sound of The Dance, and I’m glad. The techno beat gives something to latch onto as punch number I’ve-lost-count crashes into my stomach like it will tear through and shatter my spine. Air leaves my lungs in a shocked oomph— always a surprise, no matter how many blows have landed—and my body curls, absorbing the violence.

Awareness narrows to brilliant agony and the boom of the bass. If only my meditations were half this focused. A timeless moment later, I can breathe again, but not for long, because the next hit comes, with its oomph exhale followed by aching stillness.

The beat carries me, red flashes of pain pulsing in time, and I lose track of everything else until the blows stop. I am lying on the ground with my right eye swollen shut. I open my left a little and meet the glazed eye of the A who’s been beating me. I cower back before realizing he’s on his side too. Blood drools out of his mouth onto the broken concrete between us.

Tattooed fingers grab the A’s shirt, flipping him onto his back, and a knee clad in black denim thunks to the ground by my lips. The new guy’s fist smashes into the A’s round face, splitting the skin over the cheekbone.

The knuckles land again, widening the gash.


Again—the nose this time, connecting with a crunch. The A’s head jerks to the side, and a warm spray of blood mists my face.

October Secret Agent #35

TITLE: The Mis(s)fits: All that Glitters
GENRE: Contemporary Middle Grade Mystery

“Seriously, they might as well just lock me in the basement,” Celia said. “I mean, a FARM and a restaurant! Can you even?” She stopped abruptly in the middle of the sidewalk and put her hands on her hips. An impish Central Park breeze, scented with waffles and hot dogs, lifted her black veil and sent sunshine sparkles skipping across the surface of the pond.

“Now do I look like a farmer?” she asked. Indira Prabshan put on her Fake Serious Face as she looked at her best friend, a mirror of her own image. From Celia’s glossy black razor-cut hair to her manicured fingernails down to the soles of her designer sandals they were both city girls through and through, and had been ever since they met on the first day of kindergarten.

“Noooo. . .,” Indira said, dissolving into the giggly laugh Celia liked so well. In the middle of the kites and wedding parties the pretty girl in mourning clothes and her poodle dressed in matching black tweed raised a few jaded eyebrows.

“And does this look like a farm dog?” Celia asked, pointing at Coco. This time they both laughed because there was no way to even picture the handful of cotton candy fluff anywhere other than the upholstered brownstone streets of the Upper West Side. Coco wagged her tail. She liked attention even if she didn’t always understand it. Indira grew quiet.

“Look Cee, I don't know how to tell you this so I'm just going to come out and say it."

October Secret Agent #34

TITLE: Elemental Fire
GENRE: Upper Middle Grade Fantasy

The bay mare tied to the rail drove away that nagging inner voice that waged a war between blame and guilt. She allowed me to forget … me. Vienna nickered as I scrubbed the winter coat from her body, leaving it slightly more prepared for the eventual hot and sticky western New York summer.

As her shedding coat flew in the spring breeze, so did the ache in my heart. My lips almost curled into a smile as she jostled my elbow, as eager to ride, to thunder across the countryside as I was.

“Hey! A little patience, maybe?” I lifted my ancient saddle onto her back and for once, she didn’t sidestep. Maybe we had made progress. Vienna was my first horse and while no one would describe her as well-trained, I loved her Arabian beauty and the dreams she’d fulfilled. Desires whispered to my mother at bedtime. Vienna became my fourteenth birthday present to myself. My only present. Happy Birthday, Brook.

I pressed my forehead against Vienna’s, determined to focus on her and the present, not the pain that had gnawed at my insides since that December day four months ago. My hand wound through her thick mane and found her favorite itchy spot. She leaned into my hand while her lower lip quivered. Nothing else mattered for a glorious minute.

Guilt and anger fell away as I settled into the too-big saddle. Vienna claimed my attention, prancing down the driveway, ignoring all but the sharpest tugs on the reins.

October Secret Agent #33 (removed)


October Secret Agent #32

GENRE: Middle grade

Showtime! Saving my announcement until lunchtime wasn’t easy, but this wasn’t just any news. This was big! Bigger than the time I got the lead in the sixth grade play. Much bigger than the boor-ring seventh grade chorus and band performance—even though I did have a solo. By the time they’d posted the picks for this year’s musical leads, nobody had been surprised to see the name Claire Campbell at the top of the list.

But today’s news needed an audience, which was why I’d waited until everyone was together in the cafeteria. My stomach tumbled with nerves as I went through the lunch line. I loved the feeling of near-nausea that hit me before every performance, but just to be safe, I skipped the greasy chicken fingers, and the pasta jumble that looked like the leftovers from all of last week’s meals. I couldn’t take a chance on pizza splatter either, so I settled on an ice-cream sandwich.

The noise in the cafeteria was so loud it was hard to rehearse my lines. Mr. Willard yelled at some boy to stop running, but the kid barely slowed. The science teacher had come back from summer vacation using a cane and limping. Some kids said he’d been in a car accident; others said he was dying from some strange hip disease. I decided he’d been shot while on assignment at a super-secret lab where he was working on a cure for middle school stupidity. The Cooper twins could be his first test subjects.

October Secret Agent #31

TITLE: Day of Night
GENRE: YA Science-fiction

Tendrils of wind whipped all around Vanessa, as though trying to rip her to shreds. Even though she and her sister stood under the porch awning, the mist from the downpour coated their skin and clothes. The abnormal darkness made it impossible to see more than a few feet ahead.

Tiana looked at her sister, holding back her mass of black curls to keep them out of her face. “Is the world ending?”

Vanessa frowned at her, but her heart was thumping hard. “It’s just a tropical storm.” Even as she said it, she knew this was no ordinary storm.

“But it came up so fast! And the news didn’t show any warnings, and the sun just disappeared--”

A snapping noise rent the air, louder than the gales and pounding rain. From the darkness, a massive shadow started falling toward the house.

“Watch out!” Vanessa cried, pulling her sister off the porch, out into the downpour. The impact when the tree hit the house caused boards and shingles to fly, nearly hitting them. The deafening smashing sound told Vanessa that the uprooted tree had done significant damage to the house. It had even blocked off the way through the front door. It was a good thing they’d come outside to look at the storm; they could’ve been killed if they’d been inside the house.

“Come on, we need to get to the cellar!” Vanessa yelled over the storm.

October Secret Agent #30

TITLE: The Ones
GENRE: YA Soft Sci-Fi

The minutes didn’t crawl in Mr. Sykes’ Physics class, they zombie walked. Each click forward of the clock’s second hand was a painful, hunched jerk forward. I glanced up again to see what progress we’d made toward the 11:15 bell. Not enough.

Sighing, I pulled a long curl in front of my face to study the ends. The sun had bleached them from the blah brown of wet sand into dry yellow—my hair was way overdue for a trim. I tried to remember how long since my last cut. A year, maybe? It had to have been before the funeral.

A few rows ahead of mine, Nico Payne kicked his foot up to his thigh and began adding to the blue ink scribbles on his Vans. Behind the dark bangs that had fallen into his eyes, he squinted in concentration.

God, he squinted great. He’d had that exact same expression on his face the first time I saw him. I’d walked over to Joe’s Italian Ice one hot night this summer and there he was, staring up at the list of flavors like he was contemplating the meaning of life instead of Peaches-N-Cream versus Bada Bing Cherry. One look at the guy and I felt my guts swirl like a chocolate-vanilla twist.

Maybe if I’d had a clue he was transferring in as a junior in September I would have walked up and introduced myself. Hey, I'm Mina—I’ll be in your class at Grove. But knowing me, probably not.

October Secret Agent #29

GENRE: YA Speculative Fiction

They took everything: furniture, animals, tools, food, each other. Hollowed out buildings gaped at me from all sides. I plodded along, flat-footed and hunched over, with only echoes of emptiness ringing around me. I thought, briefly, that I was dreaming. Or it was a joke my father was playing on me, with the help of everyone we knew and everything that existed. When I didn’t wake up and the silence was stifling, I screamed.

I’m not sure how long that lasted.

The only thing I found in my village was a beaten down rag doll. She had no hair, no eyes, and no clothes — the yarn, buttons, and cloth were useful. Lying in an outdoor fire pit where even ashes were glaringly absent, reaching her stuffed arms up for an embrace that only I could give her, I decided sixteen wasn't too old for dolls after all.

We sat together until night fell.

It must be a mistake, she told me. They wouldn’t leave us behind on purpose. And I tried so hard to ignore the tremor in her words.

With a shard of leftover ceremony I named her Nell, holding her up towards the dark sky and introducing her to the winking stars.

“Where should we go?” I asked after, cradling her in my arms like a newborn.

Her featureless face stared up me.

Away from the silence, she said. If that’s even possible anymore

October Secret Agent #28

TITLE: Stairs to the Past

Jason twisted the doorknob to his new room. It was stuck.

He’d told Mom and Dad not to get such an old house. Things in an old house were so….old. They just didn’t work right. He put the box he was carrying down and tried with both hands. Still stuck. But it opened just a few minutes ago.

“Wait a minute,” he said, stepping back. “The handle turns. Why won’t it open?” He tried again, growling at the door. It was getting late. He was tired and hungry and he didn’t need this. He stopped and stepped back again. That door wasn’t stuck. It was locked. But it had just been open. What was going on? He stood looking up and down the long hall, a question in his eyes. Counting doors, he snorted. It wasn’t the right door. His was the fourth door on the left. This was the third. Unbelievable. Back home they only had four doors in the entire apartment. Here, he hadn’t even tried to count all the doors. Back home. I guess this is home now, he thought, picking up the box and moving down the hall to his new room.

Why was that room locked? he wondered for just a moment, but he forgot about it as he surveyed his room. The room was about fifteen feet square, easily three times the size of his half of the bedroom he used to share with his younger brother, Tyler. A large bay window filled one wall.

October Secret Agent #27

TITLE: Moon Fire
GENRE: MG Fantasy Adventure

Zephyr awoke unusually early for a Saturday. He squinted his eyes and glanced over to his bedside table where Ming, his Time Keeper, sat. Most Time Keepers were compact, futuristic devices with a myriad of functions for every imaginable task. Ming was different.

Ming had a binocular shaped head that also served as his body. Tiny overlapping plates resembling medieval armor covered most of his exterior. His face, shaped like a horizontal figure eight, was covered with a pair of glass goggles. He could display video on his face but the pictures were usually a bit droopy because the thickness of the glass pane at the top was thinner than it was at the bottom.

Located below the center of his head, Ming’s two arms extended downward with pincers instead of hands. Ming’s two skinny legs made of rolled metal looked like a stack of tiny coins when he stood, but he usually kept them folded under his body because he preferred to fly around using his retractable antenna-propellers. And unlike any other Time Keeper, Ming had a small mouth that glowed when he spoke and a nose made of a small clear marble with a swirling purple interior.

It was 6:44 AM. Ming flashed the numbers on his face and then popped up, extending his legs to a stand. He shouted, “Happy Birthday!”

Zephyr was finally twelve today. If he had been in China he’d be thirteen years old because a child was considered a year old at birth in most East Asian countries.

October Secret Agent #26

GENRE: YA contemporary

Ryan’s music is too loud—not exactly a problem, except that it’s louder than mine. I jack up my iPod. My tiny speakers can’t drown out the noise.

Especially since they aren’t just competing with music, but laughter, splashing, screams. Fun. That’s what’s on the other side of the fence.

My phone buzzes and skitters across the swing’s wide seat. Amber’s name flashes on the screen, followed almost immediately by Max’s. Their texts are identical. She’s headed to his house, his parents are headed out, I can come if I want.

Half an invitation from each that doesn’t add up to a whole.

Can’t make it, I text. Family movie night.

Not a complete lie. The living room windows flicker with light from a DVD.

I give up the fight with the music and shut mine off. Despite the dark sky, the air is hot.

I could join my parents, but instead I stay outside, between my house and Ryan’s, pushing myself in the swing, digging my bare toes into the grass, listening to the party I’m definitely not invited to.

Until the soccer ball lands in my lap. I clutch it and blink into the darkness, trying to see if anyone’s there to claim it. A head pops over the back fence, followed by a body, which lands with a two-footed thump on my side.

“Nice one, man,” Ryan yells back over the fence, then turns and jogs toward me.

I could throw the ball back, but I wait for him to come to me.

October Secret Agent #25

TITLE: First the Dark
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

Before the blood tap-tapped in black beads to the floor, before the bones shone so white beneath the flayed flesh, there was music. Everything started with the music, and it was beautiful.

The melody was like nothing I’d heard before. Harmonies unearthly and strange lapped against the corners of my mind. Vaporous tendrils reached out; they tested the resonance within me. My blood hummed in reply. The song swelled, teasing me to pick out the notes as the autumn leaves fluttered to the quad beyond the plate glass doors of Lesley Library. I strained to listen, leaning unconsciously forward across the circulation desk, but the chords retreated. They hovered just out of reach.


I jumped. The music abruptly contracted, then vanished.

“How’s my favorite bit of jailbait? Eh?”

I turned toward the voice, and my eyes refocused on a lopsided grin I knew well. Wolfgang Moser. Wainward College DJ. Double major: shamelessness and Spanish. I exhaled.

“Hi, Wolfie.” I rolled my eyes, suppressing a small smile. “Why are you in the library?”

“Gotta check on you, of course. Make sure no undergrads get any ideas I have copyright on already.” He turned away, then leaned backwards across the wide desk and grinned up at me. For real? I pushed him upright by the shoulder and got a sharp whiff of something unmistakable.

“Are you drunk?”

“Me? Do I look drunk to you?” he asked, turning around and standing up straight in mock-offense.

“You mean right now or in general?” I felt like being difficult.

October Secret Agent #24

TITLE: Greetings From The Miracle
GENRE: Young Adult

Charlene shows up late. How late depends on when you start counting. If you start fifteen years ago, when she loaded me into an infant seat and went off to rob Jake’s Deli with my father, then late can’t cover it. Grammy always said her girl Charlene was never cut out to be anybody’s mother.

But if you start counting fifteen days ago, when Charlene was released from the women’s jail up in North Jersey, a girl like me starts thinking. Fifteen days to come and get me? Not so bad. Especially if I count all the times I was sure she’d never show up.

But she does --knocking on Big Foster’s door like she’s right on time. I let her in, thinking there’ll be a social worker behind her. There isn’t. Only Charlene, whispering, “Get your things now, Dee Dee. We’re leaving.”

She hugs me quick, as if it’s our once-a-year Christmas visit and the guards along the wall have coughed up enough holiday spirit to look away for two seconds. In prison there’re lots of rules for visiting your mother, like no touching and no wrapped presents. At Big’s, my foster home, I have one rule. Don’t call me Dee Dee.

“I go by Deena now,” I tell Charlene.

She isn’t listening. Her eyes dart to a rusty Buick running at the curb. A boy, not much older than me, sits in the driver’s seat.

October Secret Agent #23


“Time to crawl out of your cave, Sasquatch.”

Sunlight flames red across my eyelids. “Isaac, cut it out!” I grumble as my brother yanks open the other bedroom curtain. My eyes flicker open and I glimpse a wedge of serene blue sky through the window. With a groan, I roll over onto my stomach and pull the pillow over my head.

“Mom told me to make sure you’re awake.” Isaac’s muffled voice penetrates the feathers. “She had that look she gets when she’s frazzled, so I wouldn’t test her. Anyway, you don't want to show up late on the first day, do you?”

He flops down on the bed next to me and grabs the pillow. I glare at him as he tucks it behind his neck and leans back against the brightly painted wall. He’s wearing his typical school attire – ratty jeans and a black T-shirt imprinted with a UFO and the words I Want to Believe. “I mean, aren’t you like, uh, sooo excited?” he continues. “It’s your senior year, after all.”

I turn over on my side to face him, propping my head up on my hand. Senior year. One more year of classes that range between dull and coma-inducing, punctuated only by moments of pure terror when the teacher’s gaze sweeps over the room in search of her next victim for forced participation. One more year of carefully-maintained invisibility – or if not invisibility, at least relative anonymity (invisibility is tough to pull off when you tower over most of your classmates).

October Secret Agent #22

GENRE: YA Fantasy

When I arrived at Grams’ late in the evening, the weather had picked up, looking gloomier than other days. The trees in the large yard trembled in the wind so violently that it seemed they might be uprooted. I wondered, if I peeled the grey skies back and threw in a sun, would it seem less gloomy?

Grams stayed up late in the lounge, reading a novel by the flickering candlelight. The electricity was shut down before the winds even began. Each time I crossed the hallway I realized her eyes were still trained on the same page. She would look back towards the curtains and bite her lips. She finally disappeared into her room, and though the violent winds were busy outside I was still cleaning into the early hours of morning. That’s when I heard it.

Someone was screaming.

Their voice was high-pitched, stretched into the raucous sky. Thin lines of shooting stars crawled from the sky towards the ground, landing as the forms of several pale men. I hesitated, then grabbed the candle and pressed my face against the cold window. The clothes the forms wore were made of night. They men were staring at the house that stood alone on open land, and immediately scattered when thunder struck. Some disappeared into a blur of speed, others walked, and untouched by the power of the wind, towards the little house whose fence had been wrecked. Hastily others appeared, carrying passed-out neighbors from our village. I jumped when the window before me fogged.

October Secret Agent #21

TITLE: Change of Fate
GENRE: YA fantasy

I was the first to be recruited.

It was a Friday, and it was drizzling. I hate that kind of weather, but considering I was safely tucked away under the bleachers while the cheerleaders scrambled to keep their sleek and shiny heads dry before the Homecoming game, I let drizzly slide.

Leaning against the metal support beam, I pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Breathing in hard, I exhaled a ring of smoke that was quickly assaulted by some rogue raindrops. It looked like the ring had been riddled with watery bullets, ripping through it until it dissolved into nothing. That’s what I was doing – watching the death of my smoke ring – when I first saw her.

From the corner of my eye, I noticed a woman crouching on the ground. “Hello, Ava,” she said, voice rasping and cracking with each syllable.

I cocked my head at the intruder. How did she know my name? And why was this homeless person camping out under some crappy high school's bleachers?

Feeling a little impish, I decided to play along. “Hello back, old woman whose name I don’t know.”

She gave wide smile, showing off yellow, crooked teeth. Her lips were cracked, and as she stood, I heard a full scale of bones popping, like someone wringing a piece of bubble wrap. The noise made me shudder.

“Don’t care for the sounds of old age, deary?” she asked, her voice a little smoother then.

“Not really.” My puckish demeanor dissolved.

October Secret Agent #20

TITLE: The Limbo Tree
GENRE: YA paranormal

I tried to relax, to breathe deep like Dr. Williams told me to, but the of air smelled of chemicals and containment. My heart slammed against my ribcage, trapped just like me. Tight straps across my face. The whine of the drill in my ear. And the sick, metallic taste of ground tooth on my tongue. I held my breath and focused on the tree outside the window, the gently waving branches, the bright green leaves fluttering in the fresh air. And somehow, I got my wish. I wasn’t in the dentist’s chair anymore. But somebody was.

Somebody wearing my black flip flops, my purple nail polish. What certainly looked like my unimpressive chest moved slowly, up and down, though I felt so…breathless, so weightless and…fluttery. And I realized I no longer saw the tree because I was in it. And I nearly fell out when a guy’s voice spoke from right behind me. “It’s your first time, isn’t it?”

I whirled around and nearly died.

A weird tangle of moss sat on the branch beside me. Yes, sat. With stubby little legs handing over the sides. It had stubby arms too and mismatched button eyes. One big and blue. The other smaller and misty green. A bit of red ribbon formed a mouth. As I stared and stared wondering what the heck was happening, the ribbon moved quirking up into a crooked smile. I flattened against the window banging and screaming, “Stop, Dr. Williams. Please! Stop the laughing gas.”

October Secret Agent #19

GENRE: YA Fantasy

I stand in the middle of the narrow road that I’ve walked every day of my life. The endless fields that stretch for miles beyond the trees on either side, are fields I’ve walked passed a thousand times. But it’s different now. A subtle difference that only the familiar would notice. Perhaps it’s the deafening silence. Perhaps it’s the falling leaves, drifting like phantoms from the overhanging treetops. The light of the full moon forms shadows on the pebble-strewn road, the branches overhead trembling in the gloom as though resisting the urge to pluck me from the path and hide me in the gnarled bark. The click of the pebbles from my light kick, like the patter of tiny feet, running ahead, clearing the path of any obstacle

I take each step reluctantly, with no choice but to follow the road. I try to ignore the prickle of the hairs on my arms and the deep chill that I feel though the air is still. It’s then that I hear it, a distant sound at first, a singing that carries over the calm, a heartbreaking tune that brings tears to my eyes. I wrap my arms around my thin frame, only now feeling the silk of the unfamiliar robe that hangs like a sack around my body. I pull and tug at the sleeves, glimpsing my bare feet as they peek out from beneath the too long cloth.

I want to run, to hide… but the virtuous cries call me.

October Secret Agent #18

GENRE: YA Contemporary

I'm a "friggin' miracle."

My dad says so twice tonight. First, as I pin white stephanotis blossoms to the lapel of his tuxedo, then at the reception during our less traditional father-daughter dance. It's his wedding day, not mine.

In Dad's mind, my craptastic lungs, toothpick frame and piss-poor immune system make me miraculous. In reality, they're symptoms of cystic fibrosis. My body produces thicker mucus than normal. So I get sick. A lot. And I'll probably die before I'm thirty.

Miracle, my a**.

For now, I pluck a gazillion bobby pins out of Angela's hair. Blonde curls tumble down the back of her white linen suit. She does a final makeup check in the honeymoon suite's fancy-pants mirror before we head back to the reception for the happy couple's grand exit. There are rumors of a confetti cannon. Dad likes to put on a good show.

“Skylar, you're absolutely sure you won’t come to Mexico?” Angela asks.

Not this again. “You guys deserve a real honeymoon. Just take a ton of pictures, okay?”

She nods, bottle-green eyes radiant; like she still can’t believe they finally tied the knot after ten years. I'm so stoked for her. For all three of us.

“Let’s go, Mrs. Benson.” I dab a tear from beneath her eye before it smudges her flawless makeup. “Your husband is waiting for you.”

We race to the elevators.

Dad shakes his shaggy hair out of his eyes, revealing gaping holes in his earlobes where fire-engine-red, ten millimeter gauges usually reside.

October Secret Agent #17

TITLE: The Letty House Mystery
GENRE: MG mystery

Kerry O’Hara jolted awake. The sharp, pounding pain in her head made her catch her breath. She was so dizzy she grabbed the edge of her mattress and felt sure she was going to throw up. Kerry gingerly patted the top of her head, certain there must be blood but there was nothing. That’s when she got really scared.

Kerry’s terrible gift – that’s what her mother called it – her terrible gift made her feel the pain suffered by anyone in her family. Not the normal bumps and scrapes her younger sisters and brothers collected every day but serious pain, like her sister, Essie’s, appendicitis and her mother’s migraine headaches. She had never suffered discomfort for anyone outside her family and that’s what worried her so much now. Which of them could be having such terrible pain?

Moonlight through the windows of her wide attic bedroom outlined her twin sisters in their double bed. The seven-year-olds sprawled in their pink flowered underwear clearly pain free even in the August heat trapped under the room’s slanted ceiling.

Worried now that her parents or her brothers might be sick, Kerry swung her legs over the side of the bed but voices from the open windows next door drew her attention.

“Come on, come on, Letty, quit fakin.’ Wake up,” said a hoarse, deep male voice.

“I think you hit him too hard, Brogan,” said a second voice, high and whiney. “I don’t think he’s going to be able to wake up.”

October Secret Agent #16

GENRE: MG Fantasy

Nara pushed her way through the soup of darkness. Her shoes clicked against the marble pathway towards the royal palace. Blackness covered her like a heavy cloak, weighing her down; even though it was only lunch time. The absence of daylight still gave Nara the creeps. It had been like this for three weeks. But she knew how to fix it.

And she would tell her stupid cousin, even though he hardly deserved it. Anything was better than living under a dark cloud all day, every day.

It was strange coming to the palace without her maidens and royal guardsmen. But now that Nara and her mom were no longer palace residents, the entourage was gone.

The guardsman at the palace gate, a fellow by the name of Warner who Nara had known since birth, bowed his head slightly as he pushed open the heavy iron gate letting Nara inside. “Good day, Lady Nara,” he pronounced.

Nara, with a dismissive flick of her wrist said, “Day? Is that what this is? I can’t tell anymore.”

The oppressive darkness covering the kingdom of Chernadova indeed made it hard to tell day from night. For three weeks, since the death of Nara’s father, it was as if the Gods decided it would be a good idea to cover the kingdom with a large, dirty, dishrag. And every day the dishrag grew dirtier.

“Yes, my Lady. It certainly is a strange phenomenon.” Warner paused for a moment, shuffling his feet before continuing.

October Secret Agent #15

TITLE: Isle in the Sea of Ghosts
GENRE: YA Contemporary/supernatural

Blair Samuel Sommers didn't plan his fatal leap.

A few hours earlier, he was having a fairly normal day at his fairly normal job, which was a weekend shift at an ice cream shop. A pack of giggly tween girls requested their sixth flavor sample, holding up the line of customers. Blair took a wooden taster spoon and scooped up a bite-sized portion of rocky road.

" Utinam sicarii te raedam locus circumveniant.*" He handed the spoon to the blonde leader.

Above the register hung a framed sign: Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis. It translated to "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream." The ice cream shop's owner had gotten it on eBay, and Blair had initially griped about having to explain its meaning to each and every customer—until it had given him the idea to use more colorful Latin phrases while serving frozen desserts. He was taking a Latin class in his junior year of high school, so he considered it a good faith effort to practice.

"What did you just say?" asked the blonde.

"Enjoy your ice cream," he replied sweetly.

She popped the taster spoon into her mouth and then handed it back to him. It stuck to his plastic glove in a salivatory mixture of caramel and marshmallow. Frowning, he tossed it out and his plastic glove with it. All right, girls. We have a miniature cute plastic trash can for that—you've killed a small sapling, and I've got a line.

October Secret Agent #14

TITLE: The Chemistry of Curses
GENRE: Contemporary YA

I always thought I wanted people to notice me. Not that I was jealous of Lexie--she couldn't help being richer, prettier, or quicker with a joke--but I wished that, just once, when I walked through the wrought iron gates into La Jolla Prep, the seniors sitting on the lawn would glance at me for more than a fraction of a fraction of a second. Now that it's happening, I realize I should have put a little bit of that wish energy into specifying admiring stares.

"Are those cargo pants?" Kendra Banks falls into step next to me. She's wearing jeans with elaborate embroidery on the pockets and a fuzzy v-neck sweater that appears to have been woven from the fur of something small, cuddly, and endangered.

"Uh...." Despite it's wide, boat neck, my t-shirt feels like it's strangling me. I risk a glance around for backup. It's five minutes before first bell, and the quad is full of people talking, lounging on the Sun God sculpture, and giving me pitying stares, but there's no sign of Lexie. "I was stuck in Arizona, so my mom ended up doing my back-to-school shopping, and...." My voice trails off as I realize I'm making things worse. High school students do not let their parents choose their clothes. And high school students at La Jolla Prep do not shop anywhere you might find cargo pants.

“What are you doing here, anyway? I thought you were going to some geek school now.”

October Secret Agent #13

TITLE: Shadow Dreams
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Jared wasn’t the first Enforcer I had known but he was the only one I ever loved.

I leaned against the window to watch the daylight fade as it cast a blanket of grey on the street below. From between the dim lights Jared appeared, blond hair brown and matted from the rain. A smile crept across my lips, ignoring the small part of me that knew love didn’t come easily to me. He crossed the road, a bunch of flowers grasped in one hand. As he disappeared into our apartment building, I turned to watch the door, waiting for him to come back to me.

“Flowers,” Jared said as he entered our small apartment and handed me the white daisies.

“I’ve heard of those,” I teased, brushing the damp hair from his blue eyes. “Did you bring a vase too?”

He glanced at the barely stocked kitchen. “Will a tall glass do?”

I took the flowers from him with a smile. He watched as I untied the thin rope that held the bouquet together and threaded it through a flower with a pin. Then another and another until the string of white daisies was complete.

“Impressive,” Jared said, reaching for the ring of flowers. He placed them on my head and pushed my long black hair from my shoulders.

I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled him close. “This is the first present you’ve ever given me.”

He shrugged. “Flowers don’t last long enough for an immortal girlfriend.”

October Secret Agent #12

TITLE: The Summer of Miracle Maude
GENRE: MG Historical

“Emmmma! Emma Sue!”

Emma hid in the hayloft. She wasn't coming out no matter how long Aunty called. Nosirree. She’d seen Unk clomp across the yard, his ax over his shoulder. It was killing time, and she wanted no part of killing.

“Emma Sue Saunders! If you don’t come now, there’ll be no supper for you tonight.”

Big threat. She’d rather starve than pick up dead chickens. And these weren’t just dead chickens. These were dead chickens with bloody necks and no heads. She sighed. It was 1935, for crying out loud. If Mom could buy her chicken at the store, why couldn’t Aunty?

The barn door squealed.

“Emma Sue, I know you’re in here. Now come on out. We have work to do. We’ve no time for silly games.”

Emma peeked through a crack between the floorboards. A sliver of sunlight sliced into the shaded barn below. Aunty stood in it, her back stiff as a rake, her flowered housedress unwrinkled, her apron spotless. Not one wisp of brown hair escaped the bun tied up on the back of her head. She peered over her bifocals and glanced up at the loft.

“All right, then,” Aunty said. “Stay here. You’ll come out when you get hungry. But don’t expect supper if you haven’t finished your chores. And there’ll be no radio tonight.”

Emma jerked back from the floorboards. No radio? What was she supposed to do all night? Read?

October Secret Agent #11

TITLE: Faithless Rose
GENRE: YA Paranormal

The year was 1536 when I died. I was sacrificed for a faithless and cowardly king. However, in my hour of darkness I was given a chance to avenge my family and, in the process…live.

My name is Amelia Godwin. I am half of a whole with my twin brother Alexander (Alex) at my side. We come from a long line of magic that has had to be suppressed or hidden for fear of being labeled a witch and being burnt at the stake. Each of us has different natural abilities when it comes to our magic. I have a natural ability to move objects and my brother has an ability to work with herbs and brew potions. Every person with magic also learns how to create spells and manipulate the elements. This takes a lot of concentration, which I have never really had. Sure, I can call on a light wind or rain, bend a small fire, or even help a dead plant to grow, but this is really small scale stuff that has had to be experimented with sparingly for the fear that we could be spotted.

The year of 1536 started off with an uncertain outlook. Alex and I would be eighteen in May and our parents were actively searching for high ranking suitors for marriage. So far we both had dodged the subject of marriage.

October Secret Agent #10

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Taela wasn’t a thief, not usually, but sometimes folks had to do unpleasant things for the sake of the people they loved. Like keep secrets or steal from their own families.

Or even commit murder.

She slipped into the cool darkness of the storage shed and quietly latched the door. She took a deep breath to calm herself. At least, after tonight, it would finally be over. She would fulfill her promise, no matter what it cost or how much it frightened her.

Ribbons of moonlight shone through the slats of the old wooden structure, falling across the crates, casks and barrels stacked around her. She had to be quick. She rummaged through a crate, grabbed a handful of dried apricots and few shriveled potatoes and stuffed them into her pack.

Standing on tiptoe, she reached up to the top shelf for the stoneware crock that held last season’s summerbeans. It felt smooth and cool in her hands. She slid the container to the edge and eased it off the shelf, but it was heavier than she expected. Before she could get a good grip, the crock slipped, fell to the dirt floor and shattered with a crash. She jumped back as shards of pottery and beans scattered at her feet. Blast it! Probably just woke the whole village.

She grabbed her pack and scrambled toward the weathered door, but the sound of footsteps approaching stopped her. Too late. She ducked into the shadows and hid behind a barrel.

October Secret Agent #9

TITLE: The Meadow

January, 1984

The tiny lamp haloed the blue-lined pages of the spiral notebook. The digital clock glowed 2:07A.M. as Nathan hunched over the desk with a pencil eraser pressed against his lips. Brow creased.

The nightmare had awakened him. Again. The scuffling behind. The odor of spoiling meat. The darkness pressing against him like water as he sprinted in slow-motion toward a pale ball of light. Sniffing a hint of her floral shampoo, he sensed Charlie beside him tonight. Sometimes his hand clutched the holey canvas sneaker stuffed with Jason’s bloody foot. This time that terrible burden jiggled inside his backpack.

When he woke up, he was alone as usual—body upright in bed, mouth sucking shallow breaths, beads of sweat dribbling down his neck. But the worst thing for Nathan? The awareness that much of the dream really happened.

Sad, bitter images of Jason bent over his sketchpad in the meadow haunted him. He shook his head and muttered. “So stupid. Why did you go out to Ben’s after dark? Why did you die and leave us alone?” When he heard his words, Nathan wanted to swallow them. Shame washed over him.

He sighed, rubbed his watery eyes with a fist, and wrote the first lines:

We stared with wonder and terror at the rusted steel rungs hammered into the rock sides of the dark shaft. Little did we know then, that ladder would take Charlie and me straight to hell and back. …

October Secret Agent #8

TITLE: Listening In The Snow
GENRE: Middle Grade Fiction

For as long as Nathan Hayes could remember, no one went inside the Specter house. According to town legend, its family had simply walked away.

Most folks blamed the ghosts for its sudden abandonment but no one ever agreed on which one. There were more Specter house ghost stories than citizens in Westville, Vermont.

Lots of kids saw its potential for a clubhouse. But none of them ever got inside. The place remained sealed, tight as a secret.

On a frosted afternoon, on the last day of November, Nate decided to change that.

He rode his bike to the bottom of its dirt driveway, let out a low whistle and waited. Dead leaves rustled and chickadees chattered, but there was no return whistle from Andy. Nate jammed frostbit fingers into his pockets and peered through the woods toward the house and its barn. In summer, the whole place disappeared inside a foliage fortress. It was easy to forget then. But as the days shortened and its verdant armor peeled away, it showed itself, again, tired and lonely and mysterious as ever.

Nate took a deep breath and held it. He had never been here, alone.

Still no return whistle. Nate bit his lip and leaned his bike against a tree. He glanced back in time to see the bike slip into tall weeds that swallowed it in one quick bite. He shook off a shudder, flipped his collar against the dropping temperature and headed toward the house.

October Secret Agent #7

GENRE: YA contemporary

Congratulations! Your parents’ DNA fused and you have all the material you need to become a full human. Everything your parents have to contribute to your genetics is determined right now, from your sex to your hair and eye color.

You still have a journey to make down your mother’s fallopian tube where you will need to implant yourself onto the wall of her uterus. The trip should go just fine, but implantation might be a little difficult because your mother’s uterine wall is thinner than it would be if she weren’t taking birth control pills.

Oh, and one more thing. Your mother does not expect your arrival. Not only does she not expect it, but you won’t be an “unexpected surprise.”

Ten hours after the deed that created you, your father wrapped his arms around your mother’s waist as she switched books out of her locker. “I think I left my hat in your room last night,” he said, nuzzling his face into your mother’s neck under her red hair.

“I’ll look for it.” Charlotte Stacy readjusted her ponytail as her boyfriend, Tony Gallo, spun her around to face him.

“I was thinking I could look for it,” he said, pulling her against him, “say, tonight after your mom leaves for the casino. I’ll have to retrace every step to find it, so we’ll just have to replay the whole night.”

Charlotte put her arms around his neck. “If we must.”

You will be an inconvenience because Charlotte is only seventeen years old.

October Secret Agent #6

TITLE: AbeGale Force
GENRE: Upper MG Magical Realism Adventure

It’s not as if I want to keep secrets from my best friend, and I sure don’t want to meet her new landlady—privately, or at all, the way Mrs. Egremony stares at me. She doesn’t even stop when I catch her doing it.

But I have to speak with her before Stephanie gets home, and find out what she meant saying my “grandmother Rose is near, but far.” Yeah—far, she disappeared in the Andes three years ago—that’s pretty far.

I better hurry.

The Maiden Villas sit at the highest peak of Pine Crest, hiding under a shadow of trees. Why Mrs. Egremony named them Villas, when they’re more like shacks, is a little weird. Three years ago, they were Donald’s Cliff Cabins.

I sometimes imagine Mrs. Egremony up there in her nest of twisting vines, waiting for some unwilling creatures…

Ridiculous. She’s just an old woman -- I know, but there’s something not right. Like the way she dresses in those Little House on the Prairie skirts dragging along the ground, and wearing a full body apron. And why she call herself Mrs. when she’s not married? Stephanie tells me she sees her sometimes, working in her garden late at night. Creepy, if you ask me. Now Mrs. Egremony tells me she knew my grandmother, and said I should come first thing this morning, alone, which is why I’m racing over.

October Secret Agent #5

TITLE: Embrol
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Mom died on my seventeenth birthday. We held her funeral two days before the tenth anniversary of Dad’s death. So the random sightings of blond curls that disappeared the moment I turned to get a better look didn’t make me crazy, just sleep-deprived and desperate for an escape.

Though, I’d take crazy over this nightmare any day.

I sat on the loveseat farthest from the casket, a shiny black monstrosity with silver handles. Patty said it was elegant, like that mattered. It would be buried underground, never to be seen after today. And that wasn’t my mom in there, not anymore.

“Livy?” Patty tucked my long bangs behind my ear. I resisted the urge to release them, so I could go back to hiding behind their auburn curtain. “You sure you don’t want to see her? You still have a few minutes.”

As if a few minutes could change my last memory of her or the hateful words I’d said.

“I don’t want to remember her like that.” I stared at my lap, willing the stupid tears to retreat. Golden hair flickered in my peripheral vision, but I didn’t look. He wouldn’t be there.

“I need to talk to the funeral director,” she said. “Will you be okay for a minute?”

Yes. Go. Leave me alone. But I couldn’t say that. Annoying as her never-ending attention was, she meant well, just doing her job as my pseudo-grandmother and legal guardian.

The loveseat shifted as someone settled down beside me. Familiar fingers wrapped around mine.

October Secret Agent #4

GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

Dying doesn’t really bother me anymore. Sure, it frightened me the first few times, but now, I’m totally used to it. Actually, I’m not really a fan of birth. It's infinitely scarier than death, nine months squished inside of a dark space, and then welcomed into the world with a slap on the butt. A few centuries ago, after this one horrific birth, I got revenge. The barbaric doctor smacked me really hard, but luckily, I entered that life in a boy’s body because what I did works much better with male plumbing. Yep, I peed down the front ofhis shirt. He yelled a bad word and I let out an eardrum-bursting scream.

But, let’s get back to our real subject—death, something humans dread. Here’s the secret, the whole heart-stop-beating part is easy, but the post-mortem debriefing with the Big Guy makes my body shake like a tail of a rattlesnake. He melts the toughest souls into wimpy little bunnies, and I should know, because I’ve been debriefed more than any other soul in the universe.

So, now I sit on this stool, waiting for the torture to begin again. The only distraction, in this boring white room, is the ticking Earth-Year clock on the wall.

“Annalise,” booms the Big Guy’s Assistant, Michael. “The debriefing can’t start, Richard isn’t dead yet, so just sit on the stool, and stop fidgeting.”

My body quivers as I whip my head around, looking for him—not in the room.

October Secret Agent #3

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

As far as Selina knew, she was the only seventeen-year-old with her own burial plot. And once a year, she looked forward to nothing so much as visiting her grave.

5:44am. Just one more minute.

The glowing red digits of her alarm clock stared back at her from the insides of her closed eyelids.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Music blared from the alarm, scattering the silence.

She flung aside her comforter and leapt to the floor. She’d already dressed the night before, so all she had to do was slip into her sneakers.

The stairs creaked as she tiptoed downstairs. She darted through the living room, and quietly closed the front door behind herself. But before Selina could get to her bike, her older sister appeared from around her car.

“What’re you doing up so early? School doesn’t start for another hour and a half,” Jess said.

Only fifteen minutes until sunrise.

“Yeah, I know. I just wanted to stop at the bakery first, for some cookies or cupcakes or something for homeroom.”

“Really? Well, I can drive you if you want. Since it’s your birthday,” Jess said, jingling the car keys.

“Actually, I want to visit my mother on the way so I’ll just ride my bike.” Selina stared at her hands and twisted her hoodie strings around her finger. She hadn’t wanted to play the dead mother card, not with Jess.

“We can stop at the cemetery on the way there,” Jess offered.

I should already be there.

October Secret Agent #2 -- removed


October Secret Agent #1

TITLE: The Lights in the Sky are Stars
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Evie is five years old.

At first the sound seems like it comes from inside the room, but we have no cuckoo clocks or wind chimes or music boxes with ballerinas dancing. And, Lucy hasn’t woken. I see her now. Her hands are tucked underneath her bandaged cheek, eyelashes resting. In the night, we pulled aside the curtain that divides our room so that we could whisper to one another, pink bed to purple bed.

Lucy, you look very peaceful. You’ll be better in a couple of weeks. You’ll leave me and another girl will take your place, but you’ll be better.

If only you had heard it. That sound. It shivered in my heart, twinkle, twinkle, like the stars in the sky. But, it’s gone now. Maybe it didn’t even exist. Maybe it belonged to a dream.

It had been a beautiful sound.

A chime.

A calling…

I don’t want to fall asleep.


Don’t want to go to sleep…


There it is again.

Loud, from outside the room.

Excuse me, Kitty and Panda, I have to go. Excuse me soft little friends; I have to get out of bed. My room has a carpet, sewn by my grandma before she went away, so the floor isn’t cold when I tumble from the bed, stuffed animals flying out beside me.

I tip toe across the room. I mustn’t wake Lucy. Tomorrow is a big day for Lucy says Mama. Lucy will have her broken heart fixed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Baker's Dozen Agent Auction: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Since the first submission window is ONE WEEK AWAY, I thought it would be a good idea to put all the links to the contest information in one place.  So here you go:




And here are the genres that will be included (it's practically everything, but this is for those of you who want specifics):


Science Fiction
Urban Fantasy
Magical Realism
Romance (and all sub-genres EXCEPT erotica and erotic romance)
Horror (including literary)
Commercial (I know, I know; very broad!)
Alternate Historical

(No religious/faith-based books.  Our participating agents do not represent them.)


Science Fiction
Fantasy (and all sub-genres)

(No picture books or religious/faith-based books.  Our participating agents do not represent them.  If you want to submit a chapter book, it's with the understanding that most of our YA/MG agents do not represent them.  Naturally this will lower your odds of receiving bids if your entry is chosen as one of the top 60.)

Questions below!  I will answer as promptly as I can.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Winners for October Secret Agent

Winning numbers have been drawn for October Secret Agent and the owners have all been emailed their entry numbers.

If you didn't get an email I'm  sorry; that means your ticket number wasn't selected.

Here is the complete list, so you may double check:
  • S4LEKIY6 as ENTRY #1



  • RTIVUHG1 as ENTRY #4

  • BEF02MRO as ENTRY #5

  • 7MFPDQCK as ENTRY #6

  • 8EPIWOCO as ENTRY #7

  • 9OZD0HPS as ENTRY #8

  • 6U6HVV72 as ENTRY #9

  • J5FZRTP4 as ENTRY #10

  • IDKD83S7 as ENTRY #11

  • VF26FY1T as ENTRY #12

  • BWF5Y2KM as ENTRY #13

  • 1Y5CSPBJ as ENTRY #14

  • O9ZGKNPX as ENTRY #15

  • Y5VRUW8V as ENTRY #16

  • YVPY9J56 as ENTRY #17

  • 1ASJ3028 as ENTRY #18



  • T0KUGEO9 as ENTRY #21

  • VHWL9LDA as ENTRY #22

  • MRGCBI5V as ENTRY #23

  • 20QW1WWS as ENTRY #24

  • QNDI8H1P as ENTRY #25

  • E9049P86 as ENTRY #26

  • O2LOQQBI as ENTRY #27

  • 5PFKB91S as ENTRY #28

  • 00DSTBZQ as ENTRY #29

  • TIKHM5Y8 as ENTRY #30

  • 3ARDUVZC as ENTRY #31

  • QYZ9F205 as ENTRY #32

  • WE32YDRS as ENTRY #33

  • TDM1A47R as ENTRY #34

  • X15AS8Y5 as ENTRY #35


  • 0GG6ZDR3 as ENTRY #37

  • IDQHY1PL as ENTRY #38

  • 9OESBHB6 as ENTRY #39

  • WY0KLUD0 as ENTRY #40

  • XO09CHGS as ENTRY #41

  • IUKICUZ5 as ENTRY #42

  • KJWUB46S as ENTRY #43

  • MWM2J6WO as ENTRY #44

  • ZJ82CL1R as ENTRY #45

  • 2FQS4OHH as ENTRY #46

  • OVSO0SP3 as ENTRY #47


  • 4YRW5B3L as ENTRY #49

  • L98PWCMN as ENTRY #50
The alternates are:

  • LRKS65CP as ENTRY #ALT-1


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Logline Round Two REVISIONS CRITIQUE Now Live!

Popping in for a rare Saturday post to let you know that 18 revised loglines are now live on K.T. Crowley's blog.  Please come offer your critique!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Fricassee

Well, folks, we've done it -- three rounds of Logline Critique!  For those of you who tried three times and couldn't get in: I'll be announcing an opportunity for you next week on a host blog.

So the rest of this month is BUSY!  Monday is submission day for our Secret Agent contest, and then THE FIRST BAKER'S DOZEN SUBMISSION DAY is October 30!

Not to sound trite, but where has the time gone??

Next week, I'll be posting a collection of links to all the Baker's Dozen information, so you'll have it in one place.  This'll be a great opportunity, too, to ask your last-minute questions. 

For those of you who weren't sure:  No, there is not a Secret Agent contest in November; and yes, you may enter October's Secret Agent contest and still enter the Baker's Dozen Agent Auction.

In less administrative news: I am the proud owner of a beautiful new pair of jodimitts!  My beloved First Pair literally fell to pieces, and dear Jodi Meadows surprised me by announcing, a few weeks ago, that she was going to knit me a new pair.  (I think she knows that, psychologically speaking, I am unable to write in the winter without jodimitts.)  She let me pick the yarn and the pattern, and then she went to town.

They are GORGEOUS! My hands are happy, and I will now be able to continue bushwhacking my way through these revisions as the days grow colder. 

It's the small things!  And the good friends.

So, onward!  I'll see you on Monday.