Thursday, October 31, 2013


Finally I've caught up to the point where my lag time is no longer ridiculous.  If you've been waiting to sign up for a critique, now's your chance to get one in 2 months OR LESS.  (I try to pad these things.  It's more likely the "OR LESS".)

The details:

  • I will provide a detailed line edit of your first 30 pages, as well as an editorial letter.
  • The cost is $95, payable via Paypal.  $50 down, $45 upon completion of the project.
  • Email me at authoress.edits(at) to discuss your project!  (I will take most genres. Never erotica or erotic romance. Check with me if you're not sure.)
Premiere Critiques:

I am not currently accepting more of these.  I will let you know the next time I do this (not sure if I'll be able to take one on in December or not--stay tuned!).  A Premiere Critique is a detailed line edit and editorial letter for your first 75 pages for $250.  If this is something you'd be interested in down the road, make sure you've "liked" my Authoress Edits Facebook Page to stay current, as well as checking in here regularly for announcements.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled Baker's Dozen frenzy!

Baker's Dozen Adult Submissions Round 2 -- Today!

The window is open from 8 am to 5 pm EDT.  If you run into any technical difficulties, please post below.

IMPORTANT:  If your formatting looks wonky or a part of your text appears to be missing after you've already paid, DO NOT RE-ENTER THE CONTEST.  You will be charged a second time, and I am not offering refunds (simply because it's an administrative nightmare).  Simply SEND ME AN EMAIL with your ENTRY/POST NUMBER in the subject line, and include your full/corrected submission in the body of the email, IN PLAIN TEXT.

Again -- DO NOT TRY TO RE-ENTER THE SAME MATERIAL! I don't want you to double pay.

Good luck, everyone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Extended Submission Window Tomorrow

Yesterday's submission process was fairly glitch-free (hooray!).

To accommodate those of you who may not have access to the contest at work, or who are usually asleep during the submission window, I've decided to open tomorrow's window 4 hours earlier.

NEW SUBMISSION TIME:  5:00 am to 5:00 pm EDT.  (The contest is still closing at the same time.)


Post your pre-submission questions below!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baker's Dozen Adult Submissions TODAY

The submission window is 9 to 5 EDT.  If you run into any technical difficulties, please leave your question HERE!

If today's submission window doesn't fit your schedule, you can submit on Thursday instead.

IMPORTANT: If your formatting looks wonky or a part of your text appears to be missing after you've already paid, DO NOT RE-ENTER THE CONTEST.  You will be charged a second time, and I am not offering refunds (simply because it's an administrative nightmare).  Simply SEND ME AN EMAIL with your ENTRY/POST NUMBER in the subject line, and include your full/corrected submission in the body of the email, IN PLAIN TEXT.

Again -- DO NOT TRY TO RE-ENTER THE SAME MATERIAL! I don't want you to double pay.

Good luck, everyone!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Logline Critique Opportunity

One of our community members has graciously offered to open her blog for critique of a few loglines WHO DID NOT MAKE IT INTO ANY OF THE 3 ROUNDS ON THIS BLOG.

So if you tried 3 times to get in, and didn't make it, this is for you!

The details:

I just did a blog post about loglines on my site, and I'd like to invite a few people to come and post their loglines for critique. I'm afraid I don't have a lot of time today, and I've already exchanged loglines with one person via email, so I'll say I can take up to five loglines to post for critique.

But I'd really like this to be just for those who plan on entering the Baker's Dozen but didn't get intoany of the critique rounds here. (Honor system again!)

So if that describes you, you can go to my website and put a comment under today's blog post. Include your logline in your comment, and I will stop by to critique it later this evening.

Now for the paybacks. :) If I post your logline, please try to critique any other loglines there. Also, I'd really appreciate your feedback on the logline samples I used in my blog (preferably focusing on the last one, which I'm leaning toward using even though it's longer).

Thanks, everyone!

L.C. McGehee

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Fricassee

Hard to believe it, but here it is:  ADULT SUBMISSIONS FOR THE BAKER'S DOZEN ARE NEXT WEEK!

If you missed the BAKER'S DOZEN EVERYTHING post this week, read it now.

Here are some things I need to address (for the future--as in, next year's contest).

1.  If, in the future, you are feeling clever enough to fool the Bot's ONE ENTRY PER PERSON rule during the Logline Critique Rounds (or anything else, for that matter) by using separate email addresses, I will disqualify your entries.  Michael was kind enough to program the Bot to let me know when there are duplicate entries, so, yes, I know when this happens.  Honestly?  This is a first.  And because I didn't have a policy in place, I let it go.  You have been warned.

2.  This is an Honor System thing:  If your Critique Round entry makes it into the first or second round, please don't enter a subsequent round.  Folks, THERE ARE OTHERS HOPING TO GET IN.  If you get in twice, you've stolen someone else's opportunity the second time.  I have no way to police this, other than to read through everything super carefully and check.  And I DON'T HAVE THE TIME.  Again, I did not state a policy about this thing, because I'D RATHER TRUST EVERYONE TO DO THE RIGHT THING.  I don't like preaching or nagging.

Honestly?  I completely understand your desire to get more feedback after you've revised.  I'M A WRITER, TOO.  But at that point, it's time to ask your critique partners to read it.

3.  On that note:  Holly Bodger has GRACIOUSLY OFFERED TO TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR REVISED LOGLINE.  Simply email your logline to her at holly(at)  Please do not email her if you have not significantly revised your logline.  Please do not email her if your logline DID NOT APPEAR in one of the 3 rounds.  (Yes, she will know.  She's smart like that.)

4.  On a different note:  I'm continuing to receive questions about NA in the Baker's Dozen.  NA IS NOT OFFICIALLY INCLUDED.  Why?  Because, when asked, none of the participating agents said, "Yes, please!"  And I do try to tailor the contest to their tastes (which, collectively, are broad).  HOWEVER:  Since NA is essentially adult literature (yes, it is), and if you're comfortable doing so, feel free to enter it under the adult category.  Don't call it NA -- just call it by its genre.  Mystery or Romance or Paranormal or whatever it is.  It will be read and considered along with all the other entries.

And, finally, this is your last chance to ask questions about next week's submissions, so please post them in the comment box.

Soon the crazy will begin! But it's a good sort of crazy. Also, it forces me to spend lots of time with Jodi Meadows, which I will never complain about.

There it is!  Have a brilliant weekend, and I'll see you when the fun starts!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 2013 Baker's Dozen: Submission Guidelines and Everything Else!

14 agents are ready to outbid each other in the 4th annual BAKER'S DOZEN AGENT AUCTION. Is your logline ready?  Do you have a clean, ready-to-be-queried manuscript? Then jump right in!


October 29: Submissions for adult fiction (all genres except erotica), 9 AM to 5 PM EDT (100 max)
October 31: Submissions for adult fiction (all genres except erotica) , 9 AM to 5 PM EDT (100 max)

(See specific genres listed below.)

November 5:  Submissions for YA/MG fiction (all genres), 9 AM to 5 PM EDT (150 max)
November 7:  Submissions for YA/MG fiction (all genres), 9 AM to 5 PM EDT (150 max)

November 15: 25 winning entries in adult category notified via email
November 22: 35 winning entries in YA/MG category notified via email

Friday, November 29: 60 winning entries posted on blog
Tuesday, December 3: auction is LIVE at 11:00 AM EDT (agents will place bids)

December 4:  auction closes
December 5:  winners announced


Contemporary Women's
Fantasy: Contemporary
Fantasy: Dark
Fantasy: Epic/High
Magical Realism
Mystery (including Cozy)
Science Fiction (all)
Upmarket Commercial

  • During the appropriate submission window, send your LOGLINE and the first 250 words of your COMPLETED AND POLISHED MANUSCRIPT. 
  • 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.
  • YES, you may submit more than one entry.  Each entry must be processed separately.
  • The word count will be set at 325. This includes your logline and your first page.
  • 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.
  • As soon as the winning entries post on November 29, critiquing may begin.  Critiques will be offered by one of our two participating editors (adult or YA/MG, depending on your genre), one of our two participating authors (adult or YA/MG, depending on your genre), and as many of our  blog community members as show up.
  • Agent bids will consist of the number of pages they would like to read, up to a full manuscript.
  • There is no guarantee that every entry will receive an agent bid.
  • Each of the 60 winners is requested to critique a minimum of 5 other entries.
  • Agents will be reading the entries beginning on November 29, but bidding will not begin until 11:00 AM EDT on December 3.  This will give the agents several days to decide which entries, if any, they'd like to place a bid on.
  • Critiquing may continue after the bidding has closed (December 4).




If I've missed anything, please leave your question in the comment box below.  But please MAKE SURE YOU CHECK ALL THE RECENT BAKER'S DOZEN AND LOGLINE POSTS before asking.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Logline Critique Round Three #ALT-1

TITLE: Edgefield
GENRE: Magical Realism

Edgefield has captured Dean Adams—literally. A journalist, who is recovering from a nervous breakdown, is staying at a hotel that used to be a county poor farm. Every time Dean tries to leave, he is overwhelmed by severe anxiety attacks, and only the hotel’s whimsical murals and the poignant tales of former residents (told by Thomas, an old black janitor) give him relief. Freedom comes only after he solves Thomas’s own surprising secret.

Logline Critique Round Three #40

TITLE: Down into Darkness
GENRE: Science Fiction

Linguist Brian Marconi arrives on Jupiter’s moon to discover that his predecessor was killed by the alien colony living there. In a race against time, Brian must solve the riddles of alien culture if he hopes to find an avenue for peace before Earth steps in to resolve the problem with brute force.

Logline Critique Round Three #39

TITLE: The Tree of Us
GENRE: YA Coming of Age

Connected through the South American orphanage where they first meet, three 13 year-old girls form a bond through a shared journal that travels across the Americas and brings the girls closer to each other and to the truth about the circumstances of each of their births.

Logline Critique Round Three #38

TITLE: Burned To Life
GENRE: Contemporary Women's Fiction

Lara Blaine survived her abusive childhood by retreating into her head. It took being beaten down by cervical cancer to make her thrive.

Logline Critique Round Three #37


When ten-year-old Samantha's witchy stepmom-to-be starts changing the boys in Sam's class into frogs, Sam must bribe and trick the fifth-grade girls into changing them back with magic kisses. Next thing Sam knows, she's a frog herself. If she can't break the witch's curse, she'll be slurping down crickets forever.

Logline Critique Round Three #36 (removed)


Logline Critique Round Three #35

TITLE: The Binder's Web
GENRE: YA Fantasy

When raiders threaten her people with ghost magic, Princess Caryn turns to the sea serpents off her coast and a prince whose kingdom may already be lost. But Caryn's plans never turn out the way she thinks they will.

Logline Critique Round Three #34

TITLE: The Dragon's Pearl
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Fourteen-year-old Misha has always lived in the shadow of her mother, the most powerful mage in South Korea. When she accidentally awakes a dragon from a magical slumber, she must find the dragon, now disguised as a human, before he targets the person who sealed him away in the first place--her own mother.

Logline Critique Round Three #33

TITLE: Journey Between Worlds
GENRE: Portal Fantasy

Half the world's against her, and it's not even her world. When recent college graduate, Journey, finds herself trapt in a world between worlds there are only two options: adapt or die.

Logline Critique Round Three #32

TITLE: Returning in Time
GENRE: MG Fantasy

When an attack on the King of Montros injures ten-year old Mya’s favorite cousin, she must find a way to save him. The tenacious girl leaves her cavernous mountain home to follow a time-turning boy back into the past to change the future.

Logline Critique Round Three #31

TITLE: The Paper Crane
GENRE: Women's Fiction

Single parent Kelly Tong has had enough. Her first boyfriend dumps her. The second one cheats. Disillusioned, she concentrates on her career to provide a comfortable life for her daughter—but temptation manifests in the form of her suave new boss.

Her sister Kirsten covets her childhood buddy. When he plans to marry someone else, Kirsten’s world crumbles into catastrophe. Her rival? An emerging pop princess. Sweet. Talented. Gorgeous. With advice from a self-declared Love Guru, Kirsten schemes to win the love of her life and vows to stop at nothing, even if she has to set the church on fire.

Logline Critique Round Three #30


In a future Italy, seventeen-year-old pickpocket, Caddy, enlists a wanted vigilante to help clear her name when she’s framed for a royal diamond theft.

Logline Critique Round Three #29

TITLE: Royal Trial
GENRE: YA historical fantasy

Within two days of returning from a five-year banishment, 19-year-old Lena has committed treason, created a national crisis, and rejected the king’s marriage proposal. (and/or) Obsession reigns in ROYAL TRIAL, combining madness, manipulation, and dangerous romance with an Italian Renaissance + Rococo France + Tudor England aesthetic.

Logline Critique Round Three #28

TITLE: Somebody That I Used To Know
GENRE: YA Contemporary

A shy sixteen-year-old enrolls in a military academy to help her soldier father find the evidence he needs to put the assassins after him in jail. But when it turns out Dad is after more than justice, she must retrieve the top-secret missile schematics she inadvertently helped him steal, or the security of her school—and the nation—will be at risk.

Logline Critique Round Three #27

TITLE: Cltr+Alt+Delete
GENRE: MG Light SciFi

Ten children in Johnson Bays have gone missing, only to turn up inside the online social media site FacePlace. Something went wrong, and the child responsible for using the top-secret government machine, the Polerizeroid, is inside with them. What they don't know yet, is they have less than 24 hours to escape, before they disintegrate into the stratosphere.

Logline Critique Round Three #26

TITLE: The Faithful
GENRE: Adult Urban Fantasy

When astute gangster Raine Morgan accidentally kills the warrior god Dawber, a divine war between old enemies ravages his heathen port town. Thrust into the middle of a conflict he's struggling to understand, he must decide whether to sacrifice himself or fight the fallen gods, destroying everything he loves in the process.

Logline Critique Round Three #25

TITLE: In the Midst of Monsters
GENRE: YA Epic Fantasy

A young pirate captain and an orphaned, failure-of-a-nun battle across isles haunted with strange and beautiful monsters to bring vengeance upon the Basilisk, the legendary king of the sea who has taken one too many lives.

Logline Critique Round Three #24

TITLE: Slave Trading Season
GENRE: MG Historical

After a twelve-year-old girl is freed from slave traders in 1845, she’s placed in a mission school where ministers change her name, her clothes, her religion, and everything else about her former life in the Congo. She must conform in order to find a new family. If she runs away to search for her friends, she risks getting stolen into slavery again.

Logline Critique Round Three #23

GENRE: YA Magical Realism

Sixteen-year-old Elisabeth wants nothing to do with her father's quest to find the ancient Lost Princes: he's digging up the castle that was her mother's home. But when Elisabeth finds Richard of York, Lost Prince of England, bewitched to live in endless night deep beneath the castle, a love-is-blind romance ignites, and suddenly, the quest is all. Now Elisabeth must rescue Richard before she leads her father right to him, or she'll have to leave him in darkness forever -- because not everything that's lost wants to be found.

Logline Critique Round Three #22

GENRE: YA Supernatural Suspense

Seventeen-year-old Samantha McQueen, nurses' aide at Wildwood Psychiatric works weekends and evenings after school in a creepy old building where the walls whisper to her and she sees terrible visions. When a psychic tells her she has two weeks to save her mother and the other dead seeking her help or they will be sentenced to eternal wandering, Samantha must hurry and follow the clues she finds to help them.

Logline Critique Round Three #21

GENRE: Upper MG, Humorous Fantasy

In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking an entire inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald. Looking to gain an inch or two, Gerald decides a little landscaping is just what his village needs, but the spell he bought - from a guy who knows a guy - is a tad more powerful than anticipates. Breaking off a huge chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison really wasn't part of the plan.

Logline Critique Round Three #20

TITLE: Elish'a Locket
GENRE: YA Fantasy

When Catherine goes to Scotland in search of her family’s past she becomes a captive of it, trapped in the 16th century. A tragic ghost holds the key to her return but first she must solve a mystery to release him from the anguish which has consumed him for over 400 years.

Logline Critique Round Three #19

GENRE: MG Early Reader

When Holly Hollingsworth’s mother told her to create something for the Halloween contest, she used the freshly fallen snow, her hated Halloween costume, and a pumpkin to create a winning entry.

Logline Critique Round Three #18

TITLE: Secrets Awakened

In a domed society where being different is dangerous, Kyle’s and Simber’s unusual talents are discovered by the unscrupulous leader of the secret police who wants to use their talents as weapons. Unless Kyle and Simber can escape the domes, they will become society’s worst enemies.

Logline Critique Round Three #17

TITLE: Witch Way Down
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

A practicing psychic and struggling witch, Grace Taylor uses her psychic gifts to help the NOPD solve monster-related crime until her picture makes the newspapers and a vampire intent on revenge marks her as his next target. The good guys want to use her, the bad guys want to kill her, and Grace must decide how far she’s willing to go in order to survive.

Logline Critique Round Three #16

GENRE: YA Fantasy

A desperate teen must form a risky alliance with her boyfriend’s kidnappers to uncover who’s controlling the ForeverNight before the curse of darkness decimates her homeland.

Logline Critique Round Three #15

GENRE: MG Contemporary Fantasy

Thirteen-year-old Luke discovers his cell phone's voice-powered assistant can grant wishes. But with autocorrect, even a simple wish can have catastrophic consequences. De-bugging his phone becomes disastrous. Getting rid of monsters, even worse.

Logline Critique Round Three #14

TITLE: Coming Alive
GENRE: NA Contemporary Romance

Twenty-year-old pre-med student, Payton, knows better than anyone that you can’t choose your family, especially a father with a God complex that lands him in jail. With her family’s name tarnished, she needs to hide her identity to be taken seriously as a medical school candidate. Everything goes according to plan until she runs into her ex-boyfriend, who does everything in his power to unearth her past, including the feelings she once felt for him.

Logline Critique Round Three #13

GENRE: YA Contemporary

Seventeen-year-old MacKayla is reeling from the traumatic events that landed her miles from home in rural Alabama. Local heartthrob Beau could revitalize Mac's pre-college summer, but healing her broken family - herself included - will prove the more difficult challenge.

Logline Critique Round Three #12

GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy

Isa and her dying brother flee the capitol after Isa kills a guard in self-defense and accidentally steals one of the King’s prized possessions. Armed with only the knowledge that one of the murdered gods is still alive, Isa must find her and return her to power. If not for Isa’s neglected country, then for her ailing brother.

Logline Critique Round Three #11

TITLE: Talassio
GENRE: Adult Historical Fantasy

In 18th century England, Elisabeth and her family have disavowed their supernatural heritage, until the kidnapping of Elisabeth's sister draws them back into the dark society of their people and the vampires they create. Now Elisabeth must journey across Europe to rescue her sister . . . and risk becoming a greater monster than the one she faces.

Logline Critique Round Three #10

TITLE: Maria's Beads
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

A mysterious Mexican shaman, a curandera, gives 12-year-old Maria Cortez, beads from the powerful mara’kame spirits, just before she learns that her best friend has a fatal disease and her parents refuse medical care for her.

Can Maria discover the secret of the magic beads in time to gain the strength and knowledge to save her friend’s life?

Logline Critique Round Three #9

TITLE: Form and Void
GENRE: Science Fiction/ Near Future Crime

When Lethe Maya is mistaken for a serial killer with whom she shares an unusual genetic anomaly, she must clear her name. With the help of Cyrus Kane, the agent obsessed with bringing the killer to justice, discovers a vast conspiracy of powerful people in whose game they both are little more than pawns.

Logline Critique Round Three #8

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old class president Kenzie Moriarty plans to throw the test that determines which of the sisters will be the Fate cutting people’s life-threads. None of the girls want to spend thousands of years ending people’s lives, but the life hanging by a thread isn’t at all what they expected.

Logline Critique Round Three #7

TITLE: Attie and the Monster Book
GENRE: MG magical realism

After twelve-year-old Attie Cohen receives a book about monsters from a mysterious family counselor, her siblings suddenly start morphing into deadly, supernatural beasts. The trouble is they morph when their emotions flare, and with their parents' divorce approaching, emotions are constantly on high alert. Attie must do her best to stay alive, keep her siblings human, and get back to that family counselor for some answers before she gets into BIG trouble.

Logline Critique Round Three #6

TITLE: Jill Norris: Therapist of the Damned
GENRE: Supernatural Adult

Early career psychologist, Jill Norris, is floundering – personally and professionally – until she gets a new patient who just so happens to be undead. Jill quickly finds her hands full – learning how to do therapy with supernatural clients and trying to keep her normal human colleagues in the dark about what’s really going on at the Wellspring Therapeutic Group after sundown. But when her patient’s badass ex-boyfriend launches an attack on the vamps in Unionville, a small town in Connecticut, Jill finds herself fighting a whole new battle – a battle to save her job, her patients, and her life.

Logline Critique Round Three #5

TITLE: Drop by Drop
GENRE: YA Sci-fi

In this Judy Jetson-meets-a-Roald-Dahl-world, wimpy perfume maker Benedicta finds the country of Pax a putrid, oppressive place. Unable to escape, she soon realizes she needs to get tough, use her smarts, and rely on new friends as they all seek to gain their freedom.

Logline Critique Round Three #4

TITLE: Missing Allele
GENRE: Young Adult Dystopian

Light-blind Zuzan is ripped from the comfort of her underground home and sent to the Human Genome Project (HGP) headquarters to solve issues created by the genetic plague. This disease divided humans into two distinct phenotypes: ultra-intelligent yet physically weak people who live underground to avoid contagion and environmental dangers, and intellectually challenged yet physically robust people forced into hard labor. But when infants begin to perish of unknown causes, the laborers lose patience and wage their revenge on the HGP scientists they hold responsible.

Logline Critique Round Three #3

TITLE: Savage Jungle

Stranded during an alien wild safari, twelve-year-old techie Kreith must battle his insecurities along with electrocats, giant land squids, and other treacherous creatures—all while he struggles to escape the most lethal jungle in the universe.

Logline Critique Round Three #2

TITLE: Truth seekers
GENRE: YA Fantasy

With two sides of a civil war wanting her dead, there's naught for 'Mary Snick' to do but take an assumed name and join the third side. They'll help her flee the country... if they don't figure out that doing so will sabotage their most important goals.

Logline Critique Round Three #1

TITLE: Aspiria
GENRE: YA Speculative Fiction

When fifteen-year-old Dominy is selected to attend Aspiria—an academy renowned throughout the galaxy for its peace missions—his plan is to be the best and stay out of trouble. It definitely does not include starting a rebellion.

There is one complication, he has no weapons. Oh, except his brain.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Winners for Logline Critique Round Three

Winning numbers have been drawn for Logline Critique Round Three 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.  (Please note: The bot has been wonky about sending out emails.  If you didn't get an email, BUT YOUR NUMBER IS LISTED HERE, you're in!)

Here is the complete list, so you may double check:
  • 0QQQOSHS as ENTRY #1

  • DSU91JL0 as ENTRY #2

  • 85DF7I1N as ENTRY #3

  • EJDBYJX1 as ENTRY #4

  • RYHZ57E3 as ENTRY #5

  • OJG5IEWB as ENTRY #6

  • B9XDLK91 as ENTRY #7

  • 81WR01XU as ENTRY #8

  • H0XV60FQ as ENTRY #9

  • 027RUV1K as ENTRY #10

  • K82YMZ4C as ENTRY #11

  • IWZGVRG5 as ENTRY #12

  • 5WW4BV28 as ENTRY #13

  • PPAGK6DK as ENTRY #14

  • Y1WMDUFD as ENTRY #15

  • B4M2DWFF as ENTRY #16

  • 7CAOO0MN as ENTRY #17

  • SN7GYNST as ENTRY #18

  • ARH7NKG0 as ENTRY #19

  • 7MQAKL8B as ENTRY #20

  • UN5X07K1 as ENTRY #21

  • V36P5NES as ENTRY #22

  • Y8JG7DC9 as ENTRY #23

  • YSR0NSN1 as ENTRY #24

  • TTUTZMO3 as ENTRY #25

  • DYI70325 as ENTRY #26

  • D4S5GQ6G as ENTRY #27

  • XM25AT0Q as ENTRY #28

  • 3INARIS3 as ENTRY #29

  • C7QW4JNL as ENTRY #30

  • FT7NKPJT as ENTRY #31

  • FTCG5KO8 as ENTRY #32

  • CCMAVS28 as ENTRY #33

  • 5E87RXT6 as ENTRY #34

  • 2PEJORZV as ENTRY #35

  • 1PKH67G7 as ENTRY #36

  • L6MVUR9E as ENTRY #37

  • JW8SZXKE as ENTRY #38


  • JEPOGL0J as ENTRY #40
The alternates are:

  • CVM882AG as ENTRY #ALT-1

  • 8E3ELQTY as ENTRY #ALT-2

Submissions For Our Third and Final Logline Critique Round

Final Logline Round!

To avoid confusion:  These logline critique rounds are NOT a part of the auction.  They are simply an optional opportunity to get some feedback as you craft and fine-tune your logline.  You don't have to participate in the logline critique rounds in order to submit to the actual auction.

A logline should be as brief as possible.  The word count for these rounds will be set at 100, but that's still on the high side.  Think SHORT and GRABBY.

If you're not sure what a logline is, STOP WHERE YOU ARE.  Please go HERE and HERE for information on writing loglines.


The submission window will be open from 9 am to 5 pm EDT today.  This is a lottery, which means the bot will randomly choose 40 entries at the close of the window.  These entries will post on Tuesday, October 22 (tomorrow), for critique.

WEB FORM SUBMISSIONS (preferred/easiest method):

GO HERE.  Please remember to proofread before hitting "submit".


As always, send your submission to authoress.submissions(at)  Format as follows:

SCREEN NAME: (type it here)
TITLE: (type it here)
GENRE: (type it here)

(type your logline here)

If there's ANYTHING you don't understand, please post your question below!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Fricassee

It's a bullet list sort of morning.

This is the point at which I say to myself, "Great googly!  The first round of submissions for the Baker's Dozen is THE WEEK AFTER NEXT!"  Then I twitch a little.  So here's a smattering of things in the order in which they appear in my brain.  Shared with affection and thoughts of sushi (which I could really go for right now):

  • Danielle Chiotti has been added to our All-Star Agent Line-Up for the auction, bringing our grand agent total to 14.  A baker's dozen plus one!
  • Submissions for our final Critique Round are this Monday from 9 to 5 EDT.
  • For those of you on Twitter:  the "official" hashtag for this year's Baker's Dozen is #bakersdozen2013.  Feel free to tweet to your heart's delight!  Folks who have never heard about MSFV have been known to find us through a serendipitous tweet.
  • On a personal note: I am filled with squee over the fact that I'm almost finished beat-sheeting The Next Book.  (You know I hate this part, right? Right?? So I'm preening a bit.)
  • On another personal note: Thanks for your kind words last Friday.  I'm in a one-day-at-a-time place right now, and that's okay.  Sometimes life requires of us a tad more chutzpah.  We always end up stronger at the end, yes?
  • If you have any questions about the upcoming Baker's Dozen, please don't hesitate to ask them--right here, in the comment box.  I will do my best to answer in a timely manner.
  • Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Introducing our Baker's Dozen Editors and Authors!

We've got another line-up of great folks who will be offering their critique on this year's Baker's Dozen Agent Auction entries.  As I say every year, I can't guarantee that all 60 entries will receive bids from the participating agents.  One thing I can guarantee, however, is that each entry will receive critique from one editor and one published author, in addition to all the in-house critique offered by readers.

Here's this year's offering:



Nancy Bilyeau has written two historical thrillers for Touchstone Books: The Crown and The Chalice. Both are set in 16th England, with a protagonist who is a Dominican novice in the midst of Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. She is now writing the third book in the trilogy. The novels are published by Touchstone in North America, Orion in the United Kingdom, and several foreign markets. The Crown reached No. 1 on amazon's list of e-books and was on the shortlist for the 2012 Crime Writers Association's Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award. Nancy has also worked in the magazine business for 20 years, including Rolling Stone, Good Housekeeping, InStyle and, most recently, DuJour magazine.

Her website is here. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @Tudorscribe.


Mallory has always had a passion for reading. But she never considered that the books she loved could lead to a future career. Until one fateful day she was offered an internship with a fabulous literary agent. A position as intern for editor Rose Hilliard at St. Martin’s Press soon followed. She graduated from UCLA in 2009 with a BA in English. After a brief stay in New York, in which it was discovered that city life did not agree with her, she returned to California and accepted a position as freelance editor for Carina Press. She also works as an independent freelance content editor and consultant. She feels so blessed to have found a job that lets her work with her one true love—stories.

Mallory will read just about anything—except horror. She’s especially on the lookout for historical romance, mystery, sci-fi, urban fantasy, speculative fiction, and dark paranormals. More than anything, she loves character driven stories. Make her believe in your characters—give them real depth and vulnerabilities and quirks—and she’ll be putty in your hands.

You can follow her on Twitter @MalloryBraus or visit her website.



Peter Adam Salomon graduated Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a BA in Theater and Film Studies in 1989. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Boston and New Orleans chapters of Mensa as the Editor of their monthly newsletters and was also a Judge for the 2006 Savannah Children’s Book Festival Young Writer’s Contest. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Horror Writers Association, the International Thriller Writers and The Authors Guild and is represented by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. His debut novel, HENRY FRANKS, was published by Flux in September 2012. His next novel, ALL THOSE BROKEN ANGELS, a ghost story set in Savannah, GA, will be released by Flux in Fall 2014.

Peter Adam Salomon lives in St. Petersburg, FL with his wife Anna and their three sons: André Logan, Joshua Kyle and Adin Jeremy.


Laura Whitaker is an Associate Editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Laura edits everything from picture books through YA.  She worked on literary thrillers Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst (Walker BFYR, 2013) and Insanity by Susan Vaught (Bloomsbury, 2014) and forthcoming contemporary coming-of-age novel This Side of Home by Renée Watson (Bloomsbury, 2015). She also edited Ruthie and the (Not So) Very Busy Day by Laura Rankin (Bloomsbury, 2014) and worked on the Penguin pictures books by Salina Yoon. While open to books for all age ranges, she is particularly interested in innovative, soul-searing literary fiction and knee-melting romances that capture the beauty and freshness of first love. She also loves well-researched and expertly crafted historical adventure stories and edgy, wrenching and unforgettable coming-of-age novels that deal with sensitive topics and issues. She is actively searching for quirky, funny and honest picture books that present first experiences in an unexpected light.

When she’s not reading, editing or talking about children’s books, Laura can be found trying to teach herself how to cook (and failing miserably, even though her roommate kindly says that her food tastes delicious), dreaming about someday owning a miniature schnauzer, avidly trying to catch up on her favorite TV shows, and walking around marveling at the magnificence that is New York City. You can find her on Twitter at @laura_gemma.


Brett Wright, Associate Editor, Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Brett works on children’s books for all ages, from picture books through YA. At Bloomsbury, he has edited the Athlete vs. Mathlete series, the Dance Divas series, Odette’s Secrets, and The Weight of Water, among others. He’s also worked with authors like E. D. Baker, Jennifer Brown, Trish Doller, Nick Lake, and Erin Soderberg. He’s particularly interested in contemporary stories with a fresh perspective that include loads of heart, humor, and magic. Above all else, he’s looking for relatable characters with an irresistible voice and a strong hook. Follow him on Twitter: @BrettWright.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Premiere Critiques Now Available!

Back in July, I offered a Premiere Critique--just one, mind you--and ended up with several requests before I finally posted that the offer had been filled.  Well, I've finally gotten through all those, so I'm opening the offer again!

I've got one Premiere Critique available for October, and one for November.  First come, first served.  (In other words, I will answer emails in the order in which I receive them.)


A Premiere Critique is an editorial letter and a detailed line edit of the first 75 pages of your completed, polished manuscript.  I will complete your critique within 1 week of your having hired me. 

Things to think about:

  • If nobody has ever read your work before (as in, ever), then don't hire me.  Find a critique partner.
  • If this is your Very First Novel, then I am not the editor for you.  My time--and your money--is better served if you have a novel or two under your belt, and if your current manuscript is clean.  (Clean doesn't mean "perfect": it just means...clean.  Polished and proofread.)
  • I will edit most genres, but if you're not sure, please check with me in your introductory email.  I will absolutely not accept erotica or erotic romance, and I also do not accept memoirs.  My strengths are YA and MG, though I've done a sizable number of adult critiques since setting up shop in January.  My true loves are fantasy and science fiction, but one of my favorite projects so far this year was a cotemporary YA (who knew?).  So, other than my exceptions noted above, almost anything goes.
The cost:
  • A Premiere Critique costs $260.  I will require a $130 dollar down payment, and the remaining $130 will be due after you've received my critique.
  • Payments are accepted via Paypal.  You do not need to have a Paypal account to use Paypal.  (It will ask you for your credit/debit card.)


My normal critique offers an editorial letter and detailed line edits for the first 30 pages of your completed manuscript.  The cost is $95--that's $50 down and $45 due upon completion.

The GOOD NEWS is that my wait time is now at a much more manageable 2 months!  Which means, of course, that clients who sign up in October will have their projects back in December.

(Unless you slam me again.  But again, it's first come, first served.)

Please direct all inquiries to authoress.edits(at)  (NOT any other email address!  I keep all editing correspondence separate from my blog stuff.)

Feel free to post general questions below.  Otherwise, I look forward to hearing from you!

UPDATE: The Premiere Critique slots have both been filled.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Logline Critique Round Two #40

TITLE: The Meeting Place
GENRE: MG Magical Realism

When eleven-year-old Brooke arrives at Mirror Lake to spend the summer with her grandparents, her only objective is keeping her five-year-old sister from driving her nuts. But after meeting a mysterious girl who claims to be living a century earlier, Brooke realizes she must find a way to change the past – and possibly ensure her own future – before it’s too late.

Logline Critique Round Two #39

TITLE: The Secret at Spindrift
GENRE: Contemporary YA

When thirteen-year-old Ellie McCoy tries to help a teenaged immigrant flee from a human trafficker, the villain kidnaps both girls. Ellie must escape--or disappear. Forever.

Logline Critique Round Two #38

TITLE: Nika of the East
GENRE: Middle Grade

To avoid her future of becoming Wicked, a young witch tries to right wrongs and stop a deadly fire from consuming Oz.

Logline Critique Round Two #37

GENRE: YA Contemporary Romance

When sixteen-year-old Gigi Smith’s forced to trade the city for Stetson’s, she’s willing to do anything to get back home, to include finding buried treasure—that is, until she loses a one-on-one game with Army-bound ranch hand Rider James, who can’t seem to tear himself away from home and, now, from the boss’s granddaughter.

Logline Critique Round Two #36

TITLE: Demigod
GENRE: Adult Adventure Fantasy

When the son of an ancient god is born from a headless statue, Cora, a young midwife, flees her village to protect the newborn from a mysterious stranger who seeks to exploit his power. To reach safety, Cora must cross the Feral Wood, a landscape rife with vengeful forest spirits and nightmarish man-eating predators, and decide whom to trust among the many gods whose interests have been sparked by the child’s ancestry. Her choices will affect the balance of power in the region in ways she cannot begin to imagine.

Logline Critique Round Two #35

TITLE: The Seven Faerie Gifts
GENRE: YA Fantasy

A retelling of the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty—The spoiled Princess Rosamund has squandered the seven faerie gifts she needs to bravely face her curse. Prince Eric grew up hearing stories of a sleeping princess and they meet in their dreams. But what happens when a princess from legend wakes in a world that fears all to do with the old kingdom and Faerie?

Logline Critique Round Two #34

GENRE: science fiction

Trapped in a dead-end job with a husband married to his career, scientist and mother Chrissy King joins the interstellar peace keepers, The Knights of Mourning, to stop a murderer from rampaging on Earth; when the killer starts destroying stars and no one believes there’s a connection between Earth and the killer, Chrissy must stop the murderer before he adds the sun to his collection of celestial corpses.

Logline Critique Round Two #33

TITLE: Wired for Wall Street
GENRE: Women's Fiction

Adelaide Turner’s an electrician from South Philly who scammed her way into a job at Wall Street’s richest bank. When she comes clean, she’s given one shot to prove herself – problem is her client’s dirty and unless she can break into a warehouse in Switzerland and collect evidence to put him behind bars, she’s the one taking the fall – six feet under.

Logline Critique Round Two #32

TITLE: Smoke and Fire
GENRE: Romance

When disheartened Elaine Svoboda loses her job and her boyfriend, she flees for refuge to a small Colorado mountain town, where she dares a raging forest fire to reach the rugged mayor and romance.

Logline Critique Round Two #31

TITLE: Keep Your Eyes On Me
GENRE: Upper YA Contemporary

Desperate to atone for the young life he ended in a car accident, seventeen-year-old Roland stakes out on a bridge infamous for suicide in hopes he can save a life and find some closure. When he meets a troubled and hopeless girl named Cassie, he believes he’s finally found someone to save – and fall in love with. But the secret she keeps about the source of her pain could lead them both back to the bridge – and over the edge.

Logline Critique Round Two #30

TITLE: Thingbreaker
GENRE: Magicpunk

Aisling's search for family reunites her with a long-lost cousin and outs her as Thingbreaker – last of the gods and potential precipitator of the apocalypse. Now the Secret Service wants her to stop a magic-hungry machine, the machine wants her powers, and the gods want to destroy her before she ends the world.

Logline Critique Round Two #29

TITLE: Once Upon a Tiger
GENRE: Middle Grade Adventure

Down in the Exotic Animal Market of Chinatown, the kill buyers are calling for the auction prize, but nobody knows the whereabouts of the rare panther — nobody, that is, except fourteen-year-old Mei Chang … and she isn't telling. Mei, daughter of Chinatown’s deceased cat vet, is determined to save the panther if it’s the last thing she does; and it just might be.

Logline Critique Round Two #28

TITLE: The Shark God's Keeper
GENRE: Mystery/Thriller

With unwanted help from her spirit ancestors, a Hawaiian detective sets out to solve the aquarium murder of a Honolulu socialite and finds herself stalked by a hired killer. To survive and solve the case, she must come to grips with the fact that she is the keeper of an ancient tradition.

Logline Critique Round Two #27

GENRE: YA Romance

Seventeen-year-old Kate Reddy has sacrificed everything from family to a social life to be the reigning U.S. Figure Skating Junior National Champion. But when a hot hockey player named Brice tears up the ice and Kate’s blade gets caught in one of the ruts, an ACL tear ruins her career. Her Olympic dreams may be down the tubes, but can she mend the rift in her family, forgive Brice, and learn that there is more to her identity than just skating?

Logline Critique Round Two #26

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Painting things into existence might be a dream come true for any gifted artist, but for Leila it means breaking tradition, getting kidnapped from her island home, and taking a steam-powered journey to self-discovery that could destroy both her village and her chance to be with the boy she loves. One choice can terminate the freedom to choose.

Logline Critique Round Two #25

GENRE: YA science fiction

When 17 year-old arrogant prep school student Marc Andrews is kidnapped by aliens called the Sipala, he learns they’re protecting Earth from him, future president who starts WWIII. Initially grateful his captors prevented him from becoming a monster, then Marc discovers a Sipala faction wants Earth for themselves, they’re planning to start the averted war and only he can save the planet.

Logline Critique Round Two #24

TITLE: The Friday Night Fright Club
GENRE: Upper Middle Grade

The girls of the Friday Night Fright Club want to see a ghost. But the ghost they summon causes more than mischief. He’s willing to murder and, if the girls don’t stop him, they might just end up as ghosts themselves.

Logline Critique Round Two #23

TITLE: The Legend of Falkeld Island

To save his dying grandfather, Kade sets out to capture one of the maighdean mhara, a mystical yet deadly Scottish sea maiden, and harvest her three wishes. But when he is caught trespassing on a WWII naval base, he is forced to either aid the Admiral's obsessive quest to find a lost Spanish Armada treasure, or risk his grandfather's life.

Logline Critique Round Two #22


In a future Italy, seventeen-year-old pickpocket, Caddy, enlists a wanted vigilante to help clear her name when she’s framed as a royal diamond thief.

Logline Critique Round Two #21

GENRE: Upper Middle Grade Science Fiction

When aliens abduct thirteen-year-old Gary and give him the power of telekinesis, they expect him to learn to control his superpower so his young alien trainer, Esther can also gain the ability. But after suspicious clues suggest a secret alien plot, Gary must figure out what the aliens really have planned for him or he’ll be leaving their service in a body bag.

Logline Critique Round Two #20

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Eighteen year old Rosaline is determined to collect the reward for returning a reluctant prince to his throne, but when a sorcerer from her past resurfaces, she's thrust back into the treacherous game they started years before. If Rosaline can't win this time around, it's not just her life in danger, but the future of whole realm.

Logline Critique Round Two #19

TITLE: All That Remains
GENRE: YA fantasy

Murder is commonplace for seventeen-year-old assassin Lea Saldana, except when it’s her entire family, slaughtered in a single night of betrayal. When she discovers her boyfriend’s family are the traitors, there’s only one thing to do: kill them all. But can she discover their hidden sanctuary before they find, and finish, her?

Logline Critique Round Two #18

TITLE: After The Rain
GENRE: Women's Fiction

Newly married into a Napa Valley fairy tale, a young mother-to-be vows to be a faithful wife and the mother she never had. But pieces of herself keep disappearing as she struggles to fit into her husband's wine-drenched world, and the childhood friend who taught her the meaning of love wants her to find them again. As the fairy tale crumbles under the weight of alcoholism and repeated betrayals, she must decide how much of herself to sacrifice in pursuit of "happily ever after."

Logline Critique Round Two #17

GENRE: YA historical

Seventeen year old servant girl, Jenny longs for a different life. When her pirate mother returns to claim her, Jenny only has two choices: train to be a pirate or run away. When her mother orders the destruction of Jenny's village, Jenny only has one choice left. Run.

Logline Critique Round Two #16

TITLE: My Best Friend Runs Venus
GENRE: MG Science Fiction

On a planet where everyone has robotic bodies, twelve-year-old Kade has unleashed a crazed hacker and killed his best friend's security wall in one epic blunder. When the hacker takes all the adults out of commission, Kade must cross the stars to stop the damage from spreading.

Logline Critique Round Two #15

TITLE: The Princess Who Was Not
GENRE: MG fantasy

A tween princess, stunned to learn she's not really royal, fears she’ll be forced to return to her biological family of winged foreigners – until the true princess asks for her help on a deadly quest.

Logline Critique Round Two #14

TITLE: Dreamwalking Under the Bloodmoon Sky
GENRE: YA Fantasy

With veins barren of her family’s magic and a looming marriage to a man she doesn’t love, sixteen year old Rose bargains and blackmails her way to freedom—only to find herself lost in a kingdom blanketed by a curse. Rose must save her sleeping kingdom from the slaughter of an invading army despite her lack of magic.

Logline Critique Round Two #13

TITLE: The Fiddler King
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Eighteen-year-old King Lesandro and princesa Anna-Maria were to suffer an arranged marriage, until assassins attack Lesandro and Anna-Maria is accused of his murder. When he turns up alive, disguised as a minstrel, they must learn to trust each other as they try to outrun and outfox the new Regent’s forces.

Logline Critique Round Two #12

TITLE: Sky-eyes
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Born with the sky-eye curse, Sora runs away to escape certain death. Setting out on an island hopping, pirate fighting, high flying quest to reverse the curse she realizes that just because you're cursed doesn't mean you're doomed.

Logline Critique Round Two #11

TITLE: Ghost Girl
GENRE: YA Fiction

Teenage ghosthunter Kyla Berkheart must use her unique Otherworldly skills to communicate with the spirits in a haunted asylum, or face exile from the paranormal community. Or maybe she'll die.

Logline Critique Round Two #10

TITLE: Darkhaven
GENRE: Fantasy (New Adult)

A rebellious young shapeshifter flees her father's tyranny on the same night he is murdered. Now she must find a way to prove her innocence before she is stripped of both her freedom and the shape-changing gift she loves.

Logline Critique Round Two #9

TITLE: Blow forward
GENRE: Thriller

The trick was not to think too much, Lizzie told herself as she swung the rig around and snugged it up to the dock, which was nothing more than a dark hole to aim at. She was tired to the bone, but thankfully she could still reverse a trailer into any space with one hand—and probably even apply her lipstick with the other.

Last night she had pulled into a dismal truck stop in Jersey City, five miles from her pickup destination--a warehouse in Newark, New Jersey—to accept a load of expensive wine bound for Las Vegas.

Logline Critique Round Two #8

TITLE: Pieces of Me

After 16-year-old Olivia is stunned by random kisses from two guys claiming to be her boyfriend, she discovers she's somehow jumping between alternate versions of her life, each shaped by decisions she made—or didn’t—in her past. If she can’t figure out where she belongs, she might get stuck where she doesn’t forever. But deciding where to stay also means choosing who to leave behind.

Logline Critique Round Two #7

TITLE: The Big Ugly
GENRE: Mystery

Left alone to raise their two young boys when his wife died, Jerry Fulks seceded from life. Finding a corpse in his estranged mother’s dining room is what forces him back -- the dead man is a brother Jerry didn’t know he had and the cops think Jerry killed him.

Logline Critique Round Two #6

TITLE: The Cause
GENRE: Dystopian Suspense

When African American hacker Isse Corvus enters a black-ops training camp, he discovers the leaders are revolutionaries seeking to return the U.S. back to its Constitutional roots. Believed to be an assassin, he is untrusted, yet when he warms to their ideology, he learns that if he doesn’t join The Cause and help them hack the NSA’s servers with his intimate knowledge of Rose (a security program he wrote), it could mean his life.

Logline Critique Round Two #5

TITLE: Magick 7.0
GENRE: Post-apocalyptic science fantasy (YA)

On the remains of a shattered planet where the heroes are fully licensed and sidekicks are tax deductible, an orphan with a secret past battles a ten thousand-year-old scientist trapped in cryo-stasis in order to save her friends and prevent an ancient computer from destroying the very fabric of reality.

Logline Critique Round Two #4

GENRE: MG - adventure

On the eve of his release from a prison town for unwanted monsters, teenager Bobby Reardon is forced to rescue his vegan vampire dad from an attack he didn't commit. When the investigation leads to a mysterious predator and a plot to kill the entire town, Bobby must rise above his human pride and rally a group of ragtag monsters if he has any chance to save them and his own conflicted spirit.

Logline Critique Round Two #3

TITLE: The Legacy of the Eye
GENRE: Adult Science Fiction Romance

Jane Austen's Persuasion meets 1984 in space--On a planet where merit should trump birthright, the top governance graduate must expose a secret hereditary polity before he is persuaded to rule from a throne. Unless his rashness enslaves him at the other end of the galaxy first.

Logline Critique Round Two #2

TITLE: Startripped

Blinded in a freak accident, seventeen-year-old Camria is tempted by an offer to get her sight back. Lander has an odd accent and access to technology she’s never heard of before, and the more she learns about him, the more she’s intrigued – and worried. In exchange for restoring her sight, Lander’s team wants her memories. Her embarrassing teenage experiences of high school cliques and drama club? Weird, but seems simple enough...until she discovers buried memories that aren’t her own, memories that belong to another girl who lives light-years away.

Logline Critique Round Two #1

GENRE: Lower YA Speculative Adventure

Geneva 2025 - nothing in pogrom-ruled Europe is going to stop fourteen-year-old Thomas and his scientist mother escaping to America. Until he’s snatched from home by a rebel priest and dumped in a hidden monastery in the Italian Alps that is. He’s got exactly 21 days to find out who, why and what makes him the prime candidate to save a bunch of multi-denominational kids from extermination by the state. But then he meets Sylvie and suddenly escape is nothing but a coward’s game.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Winners for Logline Critique Round Two

Winning numbers have been drawn for Logline Critique Round Two 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:
  • HS9PXH08 as ENTRY #1

  • 4ONS4DLY as ENTRY #2

  • UW80SO2F as ENTRY #3



  • JRG25YRZ as ENTRY #6

  • ARADMC8X as ENTRY #7

  • B43H6UKV as ENTRY #8


  • ZF2FESKE as ENTRY #10

  • RGF549AH as ENTRY #11

  • 4AHJGTDH as ENTRY #12

  • 12BOTC81 as ENTRY #13

  • 3KWVF5L7 as ENTRY #14

  • 7OUG8CN9 as ENTRY #15

  • NR6OQS31 as ENTRY #16

  • 0K9X4WAQ as ENTRY #17


  • IY4VHQEL as ENTRY #19

  • JGA8YORJ as ENTRY #20

  • VAYL5YHD as ENTRY #21

  • 8Q3IFNZL as ENTRY #22

  • YPH12233 as ENTRY #23

  • 49S9P687 as ENTRY #24

  • 20OXAEPA as ENTRY #25

  • AS1Q8UF1 as ENTRY #26


  • E2PRKGTU as ENTRY #28

  • GX921SC9 as ENTRY #29

  • 6C9HAAZ7 as ENTRY #30

  • 8SPD6KDD as ENTRY #31

  • 462F795C as ENTRY #32

  • ISUJ8WQC as ENTRY #33

  • 87OZTYWN as ENTRY #34

  • VKQ286WG as ENTRY #35

  • XTU0XTCR as ENTRY #36

  • O0LM9EMW as ENTRY #37

  • UZHW4NEV as ENTRY #38


  • J6XRLRVW as ENTRY #40
The alternates are:

  • WIFLL9H7 as ENTRY #ALT-1

  • 17LX0K9C as ENTRY #ALT-2

Winners! Winners! (Twice!)


#1 Fairy Cakes
#28 11 Days of Will
#35 The Re-Education of Christopher Parker the Third

The prize:

Emily would like to see your query and the first 3 chapters of your manuscript.


Runners up:

#41 Slave and Sira
#43 The Sea Star

The prize:

Louise would like to see your query and the first 3 chapters of your manuscript.


#48 Login

The prize:

Louise would like to see your query and the first 150 pages of your manuscript.

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

Secret Agent(s) Unveiled: Louise Fury and Emily Keyes

Surprise!  Many thanks to our first Secret Agent DUO, Louise Fury of the Bent Agency, and Emily Keyes of the L. Perkins Agency!  Louise and Emily decided to team up for this month's contest prior to Louise's move from L. Perkins to her new home at Bent.  Consequently, we've got the collaborative efforts from agents at two separate agencies.  The critiques were done as a team--but the winners will be chosen separately.  (Which means, yes, there will be MORE WINNERS.)

Stay tuned!

Submissions for Logline Critique Round Two TODAY!

For those who are just jumping in:  I hold 3 critique rounds for loglines only (no story text), in preparation for the Baker's Dozen Agent Auction.  Each critique round will host 40 entries, so a total of 120 folks will get a chance for public critique of their loglines.

To avoid confusion:  These logline critique rounds are NOT a part of the auction.  They are simply an optional opportunity to get some feedback as you craft and fine-tune your logline.  You don't have to participate in the logline critique rounds in order to submit to the actual auction.

A logline should be as brief as possible.  The word count for these rounds will be set at 100, but that's still on the high side.  Think SHORT and GRABBY.

If you're not sure what a logline is, STOP WHERE YOU ARE.  Please go HERE and HERE for information on writing loglines.


The submission window will be open from 9 am to 5 pm EDT today.  This is a lottery, which means the bot will randomly choose 40 entries at the close of the window.  These entries will post on Tuesday, October 15 (tomorrow), for critique.

WEB FORM SUBMISSIONS (preferred/easiest method):

GO HERE.  Please remember to proofread before hitting "submit".


As always, send your submission to authoress.submissions(at)  Format as follows:

SCREEN NAME: (type it here)
TITLE: (type it here)
GENRE: (type it here)

(type your logline here)

If there's ANYTHING you don't understand, please post your question below!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Fricassee

Happy Friday!

I've admittedly not got a whole lot to give, and I apologize.  Some Not Fun Stuff in my personal life has been draining me of every emotional resource I have, so the "professional me" is a bit empty.

Okay.  A lot empty.

So let's just go over some important dates, because I want to make sure we're all on the same page.  October is a busy month around here!

Monday:  Secret Agent Reveal AND submissions for Critique Logline Round 2.
Tuesday:  Entries post for Critique Logline Round 2.
Monday, October 21:  Submissions for Critique Logline Round 3.
Tuesday, October 22:  Entries post for Critique Logline Round 3.
October 29 and 31:  Adult submissions for the Baker's Dozen Agent Auction

Whew!  I thrive on schedules, though, so I'm actually loving the knowing-what's-coming-next, even though there's so much of it.

Please post any questions you have about loglines, the Baker's Dozen, etc., below.  I will try my best to answer; however, there are lots of in-the-know oldtimers around here who should certainly feel free to jump in if I'm a bit slow.

Thanks, all, for being you!  Have a glorious weekend.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Secret Agent: Critiquing Guidelines

Guidelines for Critique on MSFV:
  • Please leave your critique for each entry in the comment box for that entry.
  • Please choose a screen name to sign your comments. The screen name DOES NOT have to be your real name; however, it needs to be an identifiable name.  ("Anonymous" is not a name.)
  • Critiques should be honest but kind, helpful but sensitive.
  • Critiques that attack the writer or are couched in unkind words will be deleted.*
  • Cheerleading IS NOT THE SAME as critiquing.  Please don't cheerlead.
  • Having said that, it is perfectly acceptable to say positive things about an entry that you feel is strong.  To make these positive comments more helpful, say why it's a strong entry.
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October Secret Agent #50

TITLE: Perfect Trust
GENRE: women's fiction

Oh God, please tell me we haven’t made a mistake.

Libby Rollins glanced out the window of their aging minivan. She rolled her shoulders to relieve the building tension. Her love for James could compel her to move to Timbuktu, if necessary, but did that include returning to her small-town roots? Could she trust they had made a wise choice?

The van bumped across a long metal bridge and then cruised down the Main Street of their new hometown. A white courthouse sat in the center of a close-cut lawn decorated with an American flag and a black cannon. Mom-and-Pop owned shops cozied up close to one another like slices of bread. Men and women peppered the streets.

The waning sun cast a pattern of long shadows across the road. Amid all the strangers on the street she caught a glimpse of an all too familiar profile—one she hadn’t seen for years but could never forget, in spite of the good life she’d built with James.

She held her breath as her eyes followed the tall dark-haired figure, trying to get a better glance, hoping to ease her concern. The man disappeared behind a door as he entered a shop. Rudy Blevins? She wiped a row of perspiration beaded on her upper lip. It couldn’t be him after all these years. Not here, not now.

Her stomach knotted, and her pulse raced. She’d hoped this move would afford them all new beginnings, new places, new faces.

October Secret Agent #49

TITLE: Amongst
GENRE: YA Fantasy

“It is not impossible to leave Verandale. It is impossible to leave with your body still wrapped around your soul.”

—The Elders

The smaller orange sun chased its golden brother into the morning skies over Verandale. The villagers awoke to the day’s first light, thankful for a night in which the alarm never sounded.

Enoch awoke to a different feeling, as if something was eating through his skull and right into his brain. His eyes flew open to see his older brother’s wide smile. Berc’s finger, wet with spit, was lodged in Enoch’s ear.

He swung a fist as hard as he could into Berc’s forearm.

“Oooow!” Berc said, rubbing his arm and grinning. “That is definitely the hardest I have ever been hit by a baby!”

Enoch ripped back the covers to lunge at his brother, but one ankle was tied to the bedpost. He started to yell, but stopped himself to avoid giving Berc more satisfaction.

Berc laughed his way out of Enoch’s room. “It’s amazing,” he yelled back down the hallway, “somebody so dumb has made it another day without getting eaten by a Cof!”

Enoch’s mood improved over his mother’s breakfast of eggs and deer sausage. He was able to slip some meat under the table to his sister’s protec, Dew. It hardly looked like one of the most ferocious animals in all the land as it lay across Sabri’s feet, chewing quietly to avoid detection.

October Secret Agent #48

GENRE: YA Speculative Fiction

I’d woken with a jolt early this morning, peace-keepers beating on my door. I thought we still had one more day, but my parents’ Grace Period to raise me was over. They had prepared me for much, but not this—how could they? While a Customized would be thinking about blowing out candles on their sweet-sixteen, I was trying to decide which of my parents to feed to the flame. Before I’d be allowed to leave the balcony room above the Pit, I’d have to choose which of my parents would die for me.

I dug my nails into the bloodless skin of my arm, not removing them until they left deep marks. I couldn’t really feel any pain. It was vague, a distant sting to a nervous system that no longer belonged to me. My consciousness seemed to float above my body, but it couldn’t escape, and neither could I. I remembered how I used to wake screaming when I was a little girl, plagued by guilt over a choice I hadn’t made yet. Now that that choice was before me, I was too numb to feel anything.

My counselor tapped her clipboard with long fingernails. She was sitting somewhere behind me, reminding me that she was still there—and that I was still wasting her time—every few minutes when she shifted the order of her crossed legs.

After a long silence she prodded me yet again, “Fayten, it’s been another hour.”

October Secret Agent #47

TITLE: Goldilocks
GENRE: YA Fantasy

I gripped my staff and waited for the attack to come. The grass under my feet was still slick from the season’s first frost. My breath came out in puffs that drifted off toward gray, low-hanging clouds. The sun had barely crested the horizon, signaling the start of another day. For those of us who survived the night, there was always a certain joy in seeing the sun float into the sky.

And today was going to be one of the most important of my life.

“Begin,” a voice called. It sounded far away, as though it was coming from the enchanted forest instead of from across the practice field.

I raised my staff to fend off the blow, but I was a second too slow. My muscles had tightened after standing around in the morning cold. The blade skimmed off the metal cuff wrapped around the end of my staff before biting into the wood, cutting out a chunk, and forcing me to stumble backward to stay on my feet.

“You’ll have to do better than that if you want to beat me, Goldilocks,” Rhys said. He readied his sword for another blow, displaying hints of the dark green and black uniform of the Night Watch under his protective leather vest. A thin cord bound his hair at the nape of his neck. His otherwise handsome face was marred by his crooked nose. It’d been broken during a training session a year ago. Despite the injury, he’d gone on to win the fight.

October Secret Agent #46

GENRE:  MG Fantasy

For some unknown reason hawk attacks had increased and the rabbits didn’t understand why; nothing else had changed. To add insult to injury, a large swatch of woodberry bushes, the most vital food for the vegetarians, had been maliciously destroyed.

That was it, the moment when the rabbits got so angry that they had agreed to confront their enemies: either the hawks would show sympathy or the rabbits and all the other prey would hide. Starving their enemies, rather than brute strength, was their mighty weapon.

Komo had been called up. He was the fastest rabbit on Hawk Hill, able to get in, deliver a message and get out. A pro at staying alive, they said. Wapi was his side kick or backup or whatever anyone liked to call her. She didn’t care about names. She had her brother’s back.

Wapi knew that Komo felt rabbits were as good as any predator; no, take that back, rabbits were better, and shouldn’t be intimidated.

October Secret Agent #45

TITLE: Satellite Hearts
GENRE: YA Sci-Fi Thriller

Sunday carries a static silence in our home, punctuated by Mama’s praying; always in the lounge as though it’s a mihrab pointing to God. Praying won’t save me Mama.

At precisely 05:00a.m, in three hours’ time, an Isigijimi messenger is to escort me to a new location. The transport papers indicate there will be a team four people to transfer me. A lot of man power for a sixteen-year-old. The Isigijimi is to disclose nothing, touch me or even stare at me. That’s how they’re designed: sexless, pulseless and programmed.

My heart knocks a marimba beat when I hear Mama shift in the lounge. I squeeze myself through a crack in the corrugated sheeting that forms the wall of our home, making sure that it makes no noise. Outside, I can still hear Mama’s soft voice praying. I stare at the compound of Old Naledi: rusty shacks, unpaved grounds littered with broken glass, fizzy drink cans, plastics and trees. My childhood prison, where Mama will remain alone once I’m gone. A few minutes left to decide my freedom: I choose to leave. I’m sorry Mama, to be another death in the family.

I run four huts down from mine—old, scraggy and made from scrappy sheet iron— along the Old Naledi fence, my hand scraping the diamond wire. I strain my eyes to follow the fence—shaking in the breeze—as it rises towards the deep crimson sky: the time when the sun begins to bleed.

October Secret Agent #44

TITLE: The Challenge
GENRE: Young Adult

“Liviya, wait!” Ruth called. “Will you take this?”

Ruth staggered under the weight of the tray balanced over her left shoulder. She tilted her head toward the closed door at her side.

“King Herrick is in his study and wants more food.”

“Take it,” Liviya encouraged. “Your fear only grows when you avoid him.”

“Please,” Ruth pleaded.

The sound of hurried footsteps echoed down the dark corridor. The captain of the guard walked past the maids and stood by the small oval window at the end of the hall. Silver beams of light shone from the black sky.

“Beautiful moon tonight,” Captain Minel said.

“It will be full tomorrow,” Liviya replied.

The soldier smiled sadly. “Take a moment to enjoy its beauty. It is unlikely I will see it. Excuse me,” he whispered, motioning toward the door.

Captain Minel disappeared into the dark room.

Liviya peered through the crack in the door and watched the man bow before the king.

“The army of Asad is approaching,” the captain announced. “They are traveling with supplies for our people.”

King Herrick continued eating. The weapons that were usually stacked on the table had been pushed aside. In their place were platters of food. Herrick reached forward and ripped the leg off of a peacock. He brought meat to his teeth and removed a large piece. As he chewed, he scraped his fork against his plate. The noise was piercing in the nearly empty room.

"King Josiah has finally decided to apologize," Herrick said with a full mouth.

October Secret Agent #43

TITLE: The Sea Star
GENRE: New Adult

“Daddy’s dead.”

“What’d you say?” Twelve year old Samantha Stuart whisked her shoulder length auburn hair out of her green eyes as if it were fire ants scrabbling across her forehead. She grabbed her five year old sister Kate by the shoulders. Her short, blonde bangs flickered around her cherub face from the grab. The baby blue eyes behind those bangs grew large as quarters as she stared up into her sister’s angry face.

“I said Daddy’s...”

“Don’t you ever say that to me again.” Samantha, red-faced, squeezed Kate’s shoulders.

“You’re hurting me!” Kate squinched up her mouth, in pain, and tried to wrench free. “Mommy! Samantha’s hurting me!”

May Stuart opened the screen door.

“What’s going on, now, you two?”

“Nothing.” Samantha released her sister, but with a parting pinch. She crossed her arms and glared at Kate. If her gaze had been an open hand, it would have slapped her sister off the deck steps. “Kate and I were just…talking.” She chewed the words like she had a mouth full of sugarless skittles.

“It would be great if y’all would get along at least some of the time.” Their mother, makeup free, as she had been ever since the accident and her dirty blonde hair pulled back off her forehead in a pony tail, shook her head and slammed the door behind her.

Samantha leaned forward to within inches of Kate’s face, but made sure to whisper.

“You’re a little twerp.”

Kate turned up her nose and grinned.

“You’re a big twerp.”

October Secret Agent #42

TITLE: If Life Were Fair

It starts on a Monday. The End of My Life.

So here I am, doing nothing, AKA shopping in the women’s section of JC Penney with my mom, who’s still a child at heart when it comes to fashion.

“Look, Bernie,” she says, holding up a shirt. “Doesn’t this bring out my eyes?”

“What doesn’t?” My mom has these great, big blue eyes that are always smiling. “Why don’t you try it on?” I suggest.

“Wait.” She disappears and returns with the same blue shirt. “We should be matching! Here, try on yours, too.”

I take it, internally groaning. Ew. It’s a bright, floral blouse in that all-the-rage see-through style—chiffon they call it. Totally not my thing, but to make her happy, I head over to the fitting rooms.

“Just in and out,” I mutter to myself, stepping over piles of clothes on the ground.

I hate fitting rooms. My mom thinks I’ve gotten over my mirror problem, but I haven’t truly. And I don’t plan on telling her anytime soon. Part of strength is keeping certain issues to yourself. Else, this world would be a big spew-pot of everyone’s problems.

In my haste to avoid seeing myself in the mirrors, I forget to do the whole Peek-Under-For-Feet stint. The first door I come to opens easily. I start to enter.

Well, hello naked person.

“What the hell?”

It slips out my mouth before I even have a chance to process the situation.

October Secret Agent #41


My brother just killed me. Again. I know, because I wake with a knife to my throat and the cool barrel of a phaser pressed against my forehead. Good morning to you, too.

“Blazing suns, Sam,” I murmur, rubbing the grogginess from my eyes. “If a Sepharon soldier manages to find camp while I’m sleeping, I accept that I’d be dead, okay? Now let me rest.”

I lower my hands and peer into the darkness of the tent. It must be earlier than I thought, because the suns haven’t risen yet. A shadowy figure cloaked in black stands over me. Silence twists through my chest. The hiss of shifting sand nearby sets my pulse racing. There are others here. And since when does Sam wear a cloak?

“Sit up, boy,” the figure says, and his light voice surprises me—he’s a kid, can’t be older than fourteen—and he’s calling me boy? He nudges the phaser. “Scream for help and I’ll cook your brain. Now move.”

I obey. My fingers are cold and my heart’s about to explode, but I force a slow exhale and swallow a bout of nausea. If this is some kind of training exercise, Sam’s gone way too far. As Head of Security, he’s obligated to be paranoid about raids from the Eljan Guard, but if they ever find us, they won’t sneak into my tent and hold me at phaserpoint—they’ll just raze the place to the ground.

October Secret Agent #40

TITLE: The Summer of Miracle Maud
GENRE: MG Historical


Emma scrunched down 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! 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. Stay here. 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? She peeked at Aunty standing there, arms folded across her chest, one practical black shoe tap, tap, tapping.

Chickens or the radio? Chickens or the radio?

October Secret Agent #39

TITLE: An Inconvenient Death
GENRE: Suspense

The voice of the caller on Matt Lanier's answering machine was calm, professional, and disinterested, considering the magnitude of the statement.

This is the Owatonna Hospital. Your father's in our emergency room. Please call us at...

Matt heard nothing after that because simultaneous joy and panic bolted to the surface of his brain like a long ribbon of gasoline set ablaze with a spark. On one side of his mind, the possibility of being free forever of his old man shot waves of energy through his fatigued body. On the other side, the weight of dread, finality, loss, responsibility, change, fought those waves with invisible pressure like the gravity pull of a full moon restraining the tide.

He replayed the message to copy the phone number, then called the hospital. A nurse answered in a tone consistent with the phone message voice.

"This is Matt Lanier. I'm returning the call I received earlier this evening. My father, Ray Lanier is there." Matt turned and looked out his living room window, bracing for the psychological impact of what he was about to hear.

"Oh ... yes, Mr. Lanier, I'll get the ER doctor for you."

Seconds later a male voice came on. "Mr. Lanier, this is Dr. Singh." He spoke with a British accent. "I'm afraid your father has suffered a stroke. He's in bad shape."

Stroke. So that was it. Not dead. Not yet, anyway. A vision came to Matt of Ray Lanier sitting in a wheelchair, one side of his body numb and lifeless,

October Secret Agent #38

TITLE: The Levitators

Like you, I was born.

The similarities end there.

It’s not an ego thing; seriously, I wish we were more alike. To be precise, I wish I was more like you and everyone else. And less like… well, I don’t know if I’m like anyone. Or anything.

You’re hardly the first to observe that we both eat, drink, sleep, fart, and whatever else you want to think about. So do seals and starfish and every other earthly creature. I readily concede my body is subject to biochemistry and physics just like everyone else’s.

That’s just another way of saying I was born.

But, as I pointed out, the similarities end there.

We’re different because you belong here on Earth. You fit in, like the seals and the starfish. You have a niche.

Not me. I’m on the wrong planet.

It took a while, but I finally realized this two years and seventeen days ago. I remember that day distinctly because it was the last time I wanted to live.

At least, on this planet.

That was the day I learned about the levitators. I saw one, with my own eyes. That was before I moved here, and I know, the new girl with the outlandish stories from “where she used to live” has no credibility. So go ahead, don’t believe me. But I’ll show you, and soon. I’m learning how to do it, and I have a genetic advantage because that levitator I saw?

He was my father.

October Secret Agent #37

TITLE: Demigod
GENRE: Adventure Fantasy Fiction

The bees trembled with nervous energy as Cora placed a hand upon one of the sections of hollow log that hung from the eaves of her cottage. She hummed a soothing tune of beseeching, and the daughters of the hive responded with a welcoming buzz of wings. She touched her enchanted blade against the edge of the clay dish that covered one end of the wooden cylinder. As she did so, a wisp of green flowed through the center of the knife, a blessing from Elassa the Benevolent. With a small amount of pressure, Cora cracked the wax seal that held the dish in place. Humming in time with the vibration of a thousand pairs of tiny wings, she reached into the hive and gently worked a comb loose.

Tall and willowy, Cora maintained a level of energy uncommon in other women her age in the village. At twenty-five years, most women already had several young children to look after. With no family of her own, Cora served as Candlemaid of the Temple of Elassa, which allowed time for her duties as midwife and the pursuit of herbalism.

The children of Elassa’s Bend gathered around, raising scraps of bread from the loaf Cora had baked that morning, clambering to catch the first drips of honey. She held out the comb and smiled down at the eager faces. “One at a time, my dears. There is more than enough for everyone. Please move aside when you’ve gotten enough honey.”

October Secret Agent #36

TITLE: Reality Sucks
GENRE: Contemporary YA

Moans escape from Mom’s bedroom. God, it’s the middle of the afternoon, usually the guy’s gone by now. I cap my Passion Pink nail polish and reach down to pick up a flip-flop lying beside my bed. With experienced accuracy, I fling it across the hallway at her bedroom door. As an extra precaution, I hobble over and slam my door. I add the polish to my overnight bag in case I need to make any touch-ups later at Dad’s.

My phone buzzes next to me. “Hey, Dad,” I answer. “You on your way?”

“Sorry, Sweets, can’t do tonight. The guys are dragging me to a club in the city.”

Dad’s already flaked on me three times this month. Not again. “That’s okay. I don’t mind hanging out alone at your place.”

“Yeah, not this time. We got a hotel, and your mom would have a s***-fit if I left you alone all night.”

“Please, Dad. Mom doesn’t have to know.” I try not to sound too whiny—his biggest pet peeve. “I need your computer to message Julius. He hasn’t answered my texts all week.”

I’m in need of a major life makeover. Last year I was desperate for a boyfriend. In the process, I made out with a lot of guys and kinda earned a slutty rep. I want to lose it before my junior year starts in the fall. I need my best friend’s advice.

“Good. I don’t like you hanging out with that freak, Amber.”

October Secret Agent #35

TITLE: The Re-Education of Christopher Parker the Third
GENRE: Middle Grade -Realistic

“Par-ker! Par-ker! Par-ker!”

Standing at the podium, squinting into the hot glare of the stage lights, I felt my heart pound. I reached for my school tie, which hung a little crooked as usual. As I straightened it, I caught sight of the Fletcher Academy crest on my blazer pocket. That cleared my head. My shoulders squared, and I felt calm and confident.

“Thanks, guys.” My face erupted with a grin that must have been at least two school pictures wide. So much for the cool guy look I had practiced in the mirror after breakfast.

I scanned the auditorium, waiting for the whoops and cheers to die down, especially from my friends in the 7th grade section.

“Thanks.” I cleared my throat and nodded across the stage in the direction of the headmaster and the rest of the Council of 24, aka, The Double Dozen, seated beyond him. “Thank you, Mr. Reynolds. Thank you, Council members.” My friends started whooping again, but this time Mr. Reynolds raised his hand to quiet them. “I’d like to thank my fellow students, especially my campaign manager, Edward Jennings. The men in my family have studied and served at Fletcher Academy for three generations, so I feel as if our school motto, Tradition, Honor, and Fraternity, is part of my DNA. It’s one of many reasons that I’m excited and proud represent you.”

The applause started again.

I couldn’t resist stretching the moment by scanning the audience one more time.

October Secret Agent #34

TITLE: 'Till The Son Grows Cold
GENRE: Romantic Suspense

The winding road was dusted with just enough snow to make it deadly.

Blinking back tears of fright, Shawna banged her palm against the dashboard, cell pressed against her ear.

Damn. Dead cell zone.

She drove alone in the Colorado wilderness, on one of the blackest nights ever, surrounded by rock and the occasional pointed top of a pine. The road was abandoned except for her white rental, and someone from Satan’s motorcade who wanted to play bumper car at 4:00 a.m. Only the twin beams of her Chrysler’s headlights provided hope.

Who is this bastard? She couldn’t see the driver’s shadowy face. Keeping her left hand on the steering wheel, Shawna held the cell steady and pressed ‘9.’ Her car swerved on slick asphalt and she recovered. She followed up with 1, and another 1, and hit ‘send.’


The tiny square lit up, “CALL FAILED.”

She started over, furious. After the delayed flight, why hadn’t she stayed at an airport hotel until morning? Why? Why?

The usual reason. Not enough money.

Despair churned inside her stomach. It always boiled down to money.

Soon it wouldn’t. Her jaw tightened. After the holidays were over, she would get the two hundred thousand. He promised. Or she would call that Tribune reporter.

She called a second time.


Crrrunncch. The sedan rammed into the rear bumper harder this time. Shawna’s head snapped back and forward again, pain stabbing at her neck. The phone flew out of her hand, clattering against the glove compartment.