Thursday, June 29, 2017

Query Kombat Success: MY SOUL TO GIVE by Magali Fréchette

What better time to share a Query Kombat success story than before the final round? Publishing is a long game. You tend to hear about the overnight successes, which is one reason it's so important to celebrate the stories that take a bit longer to find their homes. Today, we're hearing from Magali A. Fréchette about her journey to publish MY SOUL TO GIVE - available today! Congratulations, Magali! I've loved this concept since I first read the query, years ago.


I was a contestant in Query Kombat 2016, and although I made it into the first round, that’s as far as I went. However, I did end up getting great feedback on my query, and it helped me along the way for future queries. It even helped me fix part of the story I realized didn’t work through the query itself. Now, the story I entered for the contest isn’t the one that got published (although, I’m still querying that one!), but I did want to mention something here. The writing community on Twitter, these contests like Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, Sun vs. Snow, and all the Twitter pitching contests did get me where I am today. I remember when I was feeling really low about not getting into one  of these contests, Michelle (amongst many others) reached out, made sure I was feeling better, and offered all the help and the support she could. And that’s the greatest thing for a writer; a community. There are lots of people I want to thank for getting me here, and these contests, and their hosts are definitely among them, so thank you!

MY SOUL TO GIVE is an Adult paranormal mystery romance inspired by a dead tree the neighbourhood kids, my sister, and I didn’t like approaching (sounds weird put like that, I know, but I swear, the story doesn’t actually revolve around a tree!). From there, a story was born. I’d been querying my manuscript since I finished it back in 2014. It wasn’t my first story, though; it was actually my 19th.

After many, many rejections, I was beginning to give up hope for this manuscript, but I’m glad I never gave up on it. It changed a lot from what it once was (original was so dark and depressing…and disturbing lol), but I love what it is now. Just to give an idea, this book went through over 72 edit rounds (not kidding), three revisions, and one rewrite. I can’t even count how many times the query was redone, but you can imagine. A lot of people told me to move on, and write something else (which, I did since I’m on manuscript #25 now), but I just wouldn’t – couldn’t – give up on this one. It meant a lot to me, and after putting so much work into it, I wasn’t ready to shelve it just yet. And all that hard work made it what it is today, and I have no regrets.

On February 21st, I found Evernight Publishing. I’d seen them before, and loved their covers, read their books – but I had waited since I already had eight queries out. I wanted feedback to see if my query was good enough now, or if it still needed work. Finally, that day, I decided to stop waiting, and queried them. And on April 7th, they emailed me back and offered me a contract to sign my book with them. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement!

After going back and forth with them, I realized how lucky I was to be publishing with them. From answering my questions, setting me up with a wonderful editor, an artist who did a fantastic book cover, and a marketing manager who has been giving me wonderful and helpful advice, and explaining everything step by step on how the press works – it’s just been all surreal, and I love every second of it!

I plan on writing a sequel to this book, and query Evernight again for it; crossing my fingers I get a second book deal with them because they really are a fantastic press to publish with, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come.

Moral of the story? Keep writing, yes – but don’t give up on that manuscript you really want published. It may have to change, go through more edits, and even be rewritten, but eventually, it will find a home!

When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her heart. An alluring demon, Mekaisto, offers an irresistible deal—in exchange for her soul, he’ll let her live long enough to get her revenge, but she must hunt and kill the murderers herself.

After sealing the contract, Celina digs into her husband’s past for clues about his murder, and what she uncovers makes her question everything she thought she knew about him.

His company never existed.
His family history was a lie.

And he was involved with The Lumen, a shadowy religious order whose members know too much about demons. As the life she thought she knew crumbles around her, Mekaisto's charms become harder to resist. Forced to face a horrible truth, Celina struggles against her late husband’s betrayal and the dark seduction of the devil she knows.

My Soul to Give is available now!

Magali A. Fréchette writes paranormal, dark fantasy, and thrillers, but always with a side of romance as she enjoys all things dark and sweet. Full-time single mom, photo manipulation artist, and gamer, she loves spending most of her time writing. She also enjoys reading, watching TV shows, and pizza.  While, in her heart, home will always be in Ottawa, Ontario, she currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences with a Major in Criminology. Bilingual – French being her first language – and has a passion for Japanese.

Twitter: @stormowl7

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Query Kombat Round 5 starts now!

Here we go! Round 5!

Entries are on Michelle's Blog! This round lasts until June 28th at 8 pm.

On Wednesday, the host will call out for extra judges to come and break ties, or in case of extra close votes to try and get a more decisive margin. 

The entry with the most votes for Victory moves forward to the final round for the championship on June 30th!

You know the drill. Judges, wait until after the host comments on each entry first and reply to that comment to cast your votes. Try making your votes objective instead of subjective (but if you really love an entry subjectively, don't even feel bad about saying it was a subjective vote - subjectivity rules!).

Make sure to post under your nicknames! And use the entry nicknames instead of the titles. 

Let's hear it for DELICIOUS VICIOUS CYCLES, the remaining representative of Team Writey McWriterFace!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Query Kombat Round 4!

Round 4!

This round lasts until June 25 at 8 pm EDT.

On the last day the hosts may call out for extra judges to come and break ties, or in case of extra close votes to try and get a more decisive margin. In the event a tie remains, the blog host will provide the tie breaker.

The four entries with the most votes for Victory move forward to the fifth round on June 27!
Now before we begin:
Read this post again to remind yourselves of the rules and guidelines of 
commenting and judging. Below I've reposted the main ideas:

Reminders for the Entrants:

You may comment on your own entries ON the last day of the round to offer thanks or congrats. If there is a problem with your entry, please tweet me @LH_Writes. I tend to be around slightly less on weekends, but I'll reply as soon as I can. If you don't have a Twitter, you may comment on your entry telling us the mistake. Also, we tried our hardest to make the match-ups as fair as possible and against as similar stories as possible. But, obviously, this is impossible to do perfectly and some match-ups may seen very random. We apologize for this but it's an evil of the system.

Reminders for the Judges:

Wait until after one of us hosts comments on each entry first and reply to that comment to cast your votes. Try making your votes objective instead of subjective (but if you really love an entry subjectively, don't even feel bad about saying it was a subjective vote - subjectivity rules!). Be sure to point out the good as well as what needs work. Post under your nicknames! If you forget, just delete and repost. And judges: seriously, thank you for doing this. It's a very tough job and isn't for the faint-hearted.

Reminders for Everyone:

Try not to comment until after one of us hosts have made the first comment, then go ahead and offer your feedback. We ask everyone who entered Query Kombat to leave at least one comment. 

NOW THE FUN BEGINS!!! GO GO GO!!! We'll be Tweeting under #QueryKombat!


Title: Plus-Size
Entry Nickname: Be Grateful For Cookies
Word Count: 45,000
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary


Thirteen-year-old Lizzie will do almost anything for a cookie. Sadly, her mother banned them from her life months ago, replacing sweets with tasteless foods and a gym membership. Her mom claims it’s for her own good, even though her skinny sister can still eat whatever she wants. 

Doomed to a life of flaxseed and broccoli, Lizzie joins what she believes is an after school cooking club, hoping to make chocolate-anything on the sly. When the teacher announces they'll also be sewing, Lizzie discovers a knack for designing stylish plus-size clothes, something she desperately needs. After the owner of a local boutique sees one of Lizzie's shirts with the message BE STRONG sewn across the back, she asks Lizzie to reveal her inspirational clothing to the public with a fashion show. Lizzie hesitantly agrees —she’s never been comfortable being the center of attention, and her mother’s lecture about her hopeless future as a larger girl is on a constant auto-play in her head.

Faced with an overpowering mom, a group of relentless school bullies, and some embarrassing mishaps at the gym, Lizzie realizes how important it is to BE YOU — a phrase on one of her shirts. Armed with her collection and a chance to show her mother that success comes in all sizes, Lizzie sets out to prove there's more to a person than the size of their waist.

First 250:

From the moment I stepped onto Aunt Teri and Uncle Joe’s patio, they taunted me. My eyes darted away, trying my best to ignore them, but I knew they were there. Every summer, my aunt and uncle hosted a huge neighborhood cookout. Mom had warned me on the car ride over to be good. "A little self-control goes a long way." The words still echoed in my head.

Hearing Aunt Teri behind me, my heart began to race. No doubt she had them with her.

You can do this, I reminded myself. You’re better than they are.

“Lizzie,” Aunt Teri called.

Her hand clasped my shoulder. She twirled me around.

“It’s so lovely to see you. And my, look how big you’ve gotten. Chip?”

She thrust the dreaded bowl in my face. They were the kind with ridges. The kind covered with that powdered sour cream and onion stuff I loved. I forced a smile.

“No thanks. I’m good.”

She shrugged and began to walk away.

“Wait!” I yelled. “I mean …” Rushing over to her, I dug my chubby fingers into the bowl, emerging with a fistful of my forbidden fare. “Maybe just a couple. Thanks.”

My eyes darted up, meeting my mother’s glare through Aunt Teri’s kitchen window. I threw the chips in the trash and grabbed a piece of celery off of the veggie tray instead. My hand lingered over the dip, but knew mom could see and quickly moved it away. I was in for a long afternoon.


Title: Southern Fried Witch Hunters
Entry Nickname: Alabama Witch Hunters
Word Count: 45,000
Genre: MG Horror


Twelve-year-old José Villa wants to be brave like his best friend, Bubba, but he’s more terrified than a fresh bass at a fish fry. So he accepts his role as sidekick in Bubba’s daring, and mostly harebrained, schemes and adventures.
But when José sneaks into a pasture with Bubba in the middle of the night, he encounters a horror he couldn’t have imagined: zombie freaking cows. Oh, and the evil witch Agatha Winters, back from the dead and ready to get revenge on the town that killed her. Not knowing what to do, José and Bubba team up with a young witch expert. Together, the trio works to stop Agatha, encountering a creepy undertaker, an incompetent sheriff, and a horde of demonic squirrels along the way.

When his friends get locked up, it’s up to José to become the hero of the story. He must overcome his fears and stop Agatha before she hoodwinks the whole town into jumping from the same cliff they pushed her off of years ago.

First 250: 

An angry wind echoed through the night as I read the cracked wooden sign nailed to the fence. “Warning: Trespassers will be skinned alive and deep fried.”

A chill rattled my shoulders. It’d be a miracle if I lived to see the seventh grade.

Bubba sniffed the fresh manure in the air and grinned. “It’s tipping time.”

In Trout Bend, Alabama, cow tipping wasn’t just a hobby. It was an art form. All the best tippers came from our town, but the greatest of them all happened to be my best friend, Bubba, better known around these parts as the da Vinci of the Dairy.

Unfortunately, like most great artists, Bubba had started to go a little bit loco. Actually, scratch that. There was nothing little about it. That boy was nuttier than a pack of rabid squirrels on a cashew binge. I mean, why else would he have dragged me out to Buck Miller’s pasture in the middle of the night?

I gulped. “Bubba, are you sure this is a smart idea?”

He laughed as he squeezed his round body between a couple strands of barbed wire. “Course it ain’t no smart idea, José. But it’s like my daddy always says, ‘Ain’t nobody ever have any fun being smart.’”

I wanted to point out that nobody had ever been arrested for being smart either, but Bubba didn’t like talking about that. I took a deep breath and slid my way through the fence.


Title: Paper Seeds
Entry Nickname: Book Boys Gone Wild!
Word Count: 109K
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy


When seventeen-year-old Harlow Jackson gets dumped at her grandma Minny's wake, she's devastated, pissed as hell, and without an escort for the debutante season starting the very next day. But then Harlow finds something Minny left her: paper seeds. Minny always told her that if you place a magical paper seed in a book, and plant it in the ground, you can grow anything you desire from its pages.

In a fit of desperation, revenge, and, okay fine, a little too much funeral punch, Harlow grows teenage versions of Mr. Knightley, Sherlock Holmes, Dorian Gray, and Dracula to be her and her friends' debutante escorts. Because everyone knows there's only one thing better than a handsome, well-groomed, drawling Southern beau... an English gentleman. Harlow is tired of feeling second rate in her small Southern town, and vows to use the boys to beat her ex, and the mean-girl debutantes, at their own game. Frankly, she'd love to burn their perfect curls off their pretty little heads, but that would just be gravy. Instead, she'll settle for winning the debutante crown and the accompanying cash scholarship prize, which she badly needs.

Harlow passes the boys off as four rather eccentric foreign exchange students, and everything goes according to plan until the book-boys discover their own origins and run amok. At the same time, the town witch, Madame LeRoux, comes after Harlow for the paper seeds, claiming that planting them will have dark consequences for Harlow and the people she loves. Harlow must uncover the origin and twisted history of the paper seeds to discover a way to undo what she's grown. But as generations of town secrets and lies begin to unravel, Harlow discovers it was her beloved grandmother Minny who may have been hiding the biggest, ugliest secret of them all.

First 250:

If I hadn’t been standing in the middle of my grandmother Minny's wake, I would have whacked that boy in the man parts so hard, people would be looking at pictures of his children in years to come and say—see the funny ear that kid has? Harlow Jackson did that.

But Jonathan took my hand and squeezed it, like he was bestowing some sort of warm comfort on me. He wore the gray shirt I'd saved up a week's wages for, the one that was the exact color of his eyes.

Now, I wanted to rip it off him.

And not in a good way.

I took a deep breath and tried to be civil. “Your parents will get used to the idea of us. I have a way of winning people over, you know.” I smiled my most becoming smile and flashed my dimple. Jonathan loved my dimple. Everyone loved my dimple.

He closed his eyes. “It’s not that, Harlow.”

“Then what is it?” I said, too loud.

Madison Pace cocked her ear in our direction as she scooped bean dip onto her plate at the food table. Nosey was not an adjective in this town, it was a given.

I tugged Jonathan’s hand, and he followed me out onto the front porch. The sky was gray, just waiting to burst open, the air heavy and thick. October in Georgia was not a cool, crisp autumn. It’s more like standing over a pot of boiling pasta. Or maybe more like being the pasta.


Entry Nickname: Boy Band Ninja Assassins
Word Count: 80K
Genre: YA Adventure Comedy


When Derrick Dominick and the other members of the world’s hottest boy band stumble into a coffee shop robbery in progress, they easily thwart the crooks with killer choreography. They didn’t name the band ‘Leth5l’ for nothing. Audiences, fangirl hearts, bad guys—they can slay just about anything thanks to their training for the Special Intelligence Network for Global Espionage, Recon and Security. (And dance class.)

Due to a misunderstanding with the barista, Derrick ends up in the back of a cop car. Roughly six seconds after he leaves the station, photos, videos, and internet rumors spread faster than a bullet leaving a gun. Consequently, Leth5l’s Manager/Handler sends two bloggers along on their next tour/mission to prove they’re just another boy band and Derrick’s not a criminal with a dimple.

Things get dicey when, to protect his cover, Derrick is forced to take a dangerous new drug called Rewind. It turns out that reliving the moment your biological mom abandoned you can sting just as much at seventeen-years-old as it did as a baby. Rewind, his butt, he’d rather erase that memory completely. Now, on top of his mission, and the two nosy (and hot!) bloggers up in his business, he’s got one mother of a mother issue to deal with before he makes a mistake that might be lethal (minus the five) to one of his bandmates.

At least his hair’s still on point.

First 250:

Five-part harmony is ridiculously hard in the morning. Especially before coffee. Yet, here we are, strolling out of W-IDK television station after singing our asses off at six-freaking-thirty A.M. on “Wake Up, Whichever-City-We’re-In!

They’re awake now.

I learned—foster situation number two, specifically—my dimple has that effect on people. Thank God it stayed with me beyond the chubby-cheek baby phase. I can wield it like a sword, but that’s only for my second job. Other times, like today, I use it to give the people what they want. Because giving the people what they want is the best part of my day. Even if it’s at an unholy hour.

Four steps outside the studio, Jay starts in on me. Again. “Do you think that you could, for once, turn your thousand-watt smile down some? How are the rest of us supposed to compete? That make-up chick was under my spell until you Derricked her to death.”

I dive into the backseat of the SUV with Leth5l-standard blacked out windows. Can’t let fangirls or bad guys know our location. Though, I’d totally be down if some of the fangirls knew. “I wasn’t aware that my name is a verb now. Good to know. How, exactly, does one Derrick somebody?”

Dash slides in next to me, his untied tie flapping around his neck. “Don’t act like you don’t know.”

“I have no clue what you’re talking about.”

Maybe that’s a bit of a lie. Lying is one of the things I do best; lying, and carrying lead vocals.


Entry NicknameDelicious Vicious Cycles
Word count: 74K
Genre: YA Contemporary, Own Voices (Jewish and sexual assault survivor)


Seventeen-year-old entrepreneur Vera Davis starts a business to sell revenge in VERA WITH A VENGEANCE, a 74,000-word young adult contemporary novel.

When a car accident paralyzes Vera’s older brother and kills her parents, she's suddenly in charge of the medical bills, the mortgage, and her own anger and helplessness. Vera's always been good at getting back at people who hurt her, but she can’t exactly get revenge on the curve in the road where her father lost control of the car. 

Meager insurance payouts leave Vera desperate for money, so she starts a business: when the traditional justice system fails her clients, Vera wrecks wrongdoers’ careers and cars, relationships and reputations. She revels in taking down racists and sexual assaulters, but her crush--her brother’s best friend--thinks her style of vengeance is morally wrong. 

Then, while helping a client get payback for a leaked nude picture, Vera finds new evidence about her family’s “accident.” Turns out there is someone for Vera to blame, but the perpetrator had her own very good reason to seek vengeance. 

Now Vera must decide whether getting even is worth getting blood on her hands. 

First 250:

This creeper keeps staring at me with this little half smile, like he thinks I want his eyes undressing me. His face, all chin and cheekbones, reeks of always getting what he wants—women, money, free drinks in first class en route to Ibiza. I want to walk away, but his wife is shopping for an evening gown, and I need the commission to pay the energy bill.

I focus on her, and hold up a green dress to hide my body. “This would look great with your eyes.”

Her eyes are blue, but the green dress sells well, and if she buys it, I’ll hit the monthly quota for a higher commission percentage. I can only work so much after school, and I have to make the hours count.

She turns to Creeper. “What do you think?”

“I’d like to see more.” His eyes flicker down to my calves and back up to my chest. For all his wife can tell, he’s checking out the dress, but his gaze burns my skin.

I hold the dress higher to cover my chest and look at my boss for rescue. He mouths work it. If I didn’t need this job so badly…I force myself to smile.

Creeper’s gold smartwatch buzzes, and he glances away from me. Those watches cost three grand. Three grand would keep the lights on and pay for a month of the mortgage. Three grand could keep Levi and me from losing the house our parents raised us in.


Title: The Mortal Coil
Entry Nickname: Hero by Default
Word Count: 80K
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy


When Covington Academy's basketball team is found comatose during practice, seventeen-year-old Aiden Milligan goes from top of the class to top of the suspect list. His extensive disciplinary record and recent altercation with the team's captain make Aiden the obvious culprit. Worse, his combination of brains, boredom, and bad attitude marks him as a possible member of The Orphion Circle, the rumored anarchist group being investigated by police. Guilty until proven innocent in the principal's eyes, Aiden knows he's one misstep from expulsion — or worse, a prison cell. Losing his academic future, the one thing that separates him from every other parentless screw-up, is not an option.

Teamwork is torture for Aiden, but classmate Jessie Rivas is his only help in clearing his name. A crackpot journalist determined to make her big break, Jessie drags Aiden into a mystifying investigation of the rising coma incidents around the city. When bloody symbols appear at the scene of one the attacks, Aiden begins to believe Jessie’s theories about the mysterious Orphion Circle are true. The Circle isn't an anarchist group. It's a coven of dangerous witches.

Stopping The Circle and clearing his name become one and the same for Aiden. A detective hounds his steps, though, hell-bent on locking him up. With every step of his investigation implicating him further, salvaging his reputation and his academic future may be impossible. But if he can't uncover the truth behind the mounting coma victims before The Circle silences him, he won't have a future at all.

First 250:

Aiden Milligan sat in the principal's office. Again. And for once, he wasn't sure why.

Aiden reviewed the usual complaints. No skipping classes — this week, anyway. Not like he couldn't afford to when he was so far ahead of the rest of the class.

No disrespecting any teachers. Correcting Ms. Maynard's electron assignment during Chemistry didn't count. Eye-rolls were reflexive at this point.

No refusing to cooperate with others. ...Okay, guilty as charged. But was that such a crisis?

"Mr. Milligan."

Aiden straightened up. Principal Hadley entered the office and sat behind his impenetrable oak desk.

"Sir," he muttered.

In the two years he’d attended the prestigious Covington Academy, Aiden and Principal Hadley had grown very familiar, in the way a lion gets familiar with a straggling wildebeest. Aiden was a problem that didn't want to be solved, and Hadley took that as a challenge.

Hadley ran a hand through thin, graying hair. “Thank you for coming, Aiden."

Aiden raised an eyebrow. Like he had a choice?

Here it comes. Slap on the wrist and hollow lecture. Then set me loose, 'cause you can't risk losing your highest GPA student. Rinse and repeat.

“To business.” Hadley folded his hands on his desk. "Last night, campus security found Coach Singer and the entire basketball team collapsed in the gym. The police were called in to investigate."

Police... Aiden's stomach twisted.

Hadley's eyes locked onto him. "They suspect foul play."

Foul play? Now his stomach plummeted somewhere around his feet. Damn, not good...


Title: Dangerous Beasts
Entry Nickname: Bounty and the Beast
Word Count: 85,000
Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance


Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep shit. Empty pockets force her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and the Charmers Council hires a lethal assassin to exact punishment. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: a promise to procure a handful of mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

For assassin Noc, murder comes easy and pays well. But only fools pass up the chance to own rare and powerful magical beasts, even if that means lying to one enchanting charmer. Agreeing to Leena’s terms, Noc plans to keep the bounty live on her head until the creatures are his. Two paychecks, one job, no sleep lost.

To hunt for creatures, Noc and Leena embark on a quest across the countryside of Lendria. But traps capture more than beasts, and ensnared hearts are hard to untangle. Banished by the people she loved, Leena has no desire to take her heart out of exile, yet Noc is nothing like the monsters on the Council—or so she thinks. Bound by the magic of the assassin’s oath, Noc can’t renege on the contract for Leena’s head unless he’s willing to sacrifice his own. But neither can tame their growing feelings, and the ever-watchful Council demands blood. With Noc’s hands and heart tied, and Leena dodging enemies at every turn, no manner of beasts or money can protect their hides.

First 250:

By the time evening fell, three things were certain: the gelatinous chunks of lamb were absolute shit, my beady-eyed client was hankering for more than the beasts in my pocket, and I was being watched.

Two out of the three were normal for my after-hours dealings.

Sliding my meat to the side, I propped my elbows against the heavy plank table. My client lasted two seconds before his gaze roved to the book-shaped locket dangling in my cleavage. Wedging his thick fingers between his shirt collar and neck, he tugged gently on the fabric.

“You have what I came for?” Nasally and high-pitched, his voice grated along my skin. A businessman. A rare visitor in Midnight Jester, my preferred black market bar. My pocket hummed with the possibility of money, and I fingered the copper key hidden in my pants.

“Maybe.” I nudged the metal dinner plate farther away, and the gray meat jiggled. “How did you find me?” Dez, the bartender, sourced most of my clients, but a businessman? Neckties and Midnight Jester didn’t mingle. Shady with a side of grime, the regulars were as dirty as the floors. I shifted in the booth crammed against the shiplap wall, and the cracking black cushions creaked.

The unseen pair of eyes lingering in a dark recess of the bar burrowed further into the back of my head. Faint movement from the shadows flickered into my awareness. Movement that should have gone unnoticed, but I’d learned to be prepared for such things.


Title: Only When I Fall
Entry Nickname: From Gutters to Galleries
Word Count: 80K
Genre: Multi POV Adult Upmarket Fiction


If she could find a better paying job than the Museum of Fine Arts café, Mia Clarke wouldn't have to keep selling heroin. As a single mom, it kills her to contribute to people's afflictions—especially Tris, her former partner in both love and graffiti art. When he stops by the café for a couple of grams and accidentally leaves behind a gorgeous painting, Mia anonymously enters it into an online art contest hoping to help him turn his life around.

Soon, the image goes viral, sparking a widespread search for a troubled loner with a singular gift. But not everyone searching for Tris means him well. A posh art dealer with a trail of disappearing protégés, a social network moderator obsessed with the anonymous contest entry, and a groundskeeper required to evict the homeless are all closing in on the abandoned utility room under a Charles River bridge where Tris has been staying.

Unaware of the pursuers closing in, Tris must shake the heroin in his veins and leave his old life behind or risk losing not only his life's work and the person he loves, but the very life to which he clings. While Mia, weighed down by her guilt over being both Tris's dealer and the one person who can help him find the recognition his talent deserves, vows to quit selling drugs and to fight to save the man she wishes she didn't love—for herself, for him, and for the daughter he never knew he had.

ONLY WHEN I FALL is 3rd person multi-pov, uniquely structured with interspersed chapters in the 2nd person as descriptions of paintings that are moments from the astist's life seen through his creative lens.

First 250:

The Museum of Fine Arts was humming. Patrons clopped around on marble tile toward the new Vermeer exhibit, loners sketched landscapes in their spiral pads, and tour guides directed groups between potted ferns from the European galleries to the Americas. An odd tang of coffee and parmesan wafted from the café on the first floor.

Mia Clarke wiped down table five, the edge of her full-sleeve tattoos peeking out from beneath the black uniform shirt cuffs buttoned at her wrists. She brushed a strand of pink hair behind her ear. As she rushed to take an order from a customer at the next table over, a different kind of customer stepped into the café.

She saw him out of the corner of her eye. He was hard to miss.

His dirty blonde hair was matted and fell past his shoulders like a neglected houseplant, its tendrils winding their way through his overgrown beard. Glancing around the room, he found an empty chair and slid into it. Their eyes met.

Finishing up with her customer, Mia closed her pad and wound her way through the maze of tables before stopping at his.

"Hey, Tris. Can I get you a cup of coffee?"

He sat hunched over the table, his eyes unreadable. "No thanks. Just a fruit cup."

A thin sigh escaped her lips. "How about a muffin or something?"

"Not today."

She knew he didn't care about the fruit. He came for the heroin she slipped inside.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Query Kombat 2016 Round 4 Match-ups

Round 3 of this tournament is officially over. All kontenders fought valiantly, but alas, half of you must be knocked out. Win or lose, thanks for officially making QK the toughest query tournament in all the land. Be proud of yourselves for making it this far. 

A standing ovation to those of you who fought and came out victorious. A full 48 entries out of the 64 that started this tournament have been eliminated. Those left can practically smell the title of QK Grand Champion. Best of luck in round 4, kontenders. You're going to need it.

Round 4 will be hosted on Laura's blog from June 24-25. Below is not only a list of who made it into the 4th round, but who entrants be match against as well. Purple entries are on Team Writey McWriterface.

Bounty and the Beast vs. From Gutters to Galleries
Boy Band Ninja Assassins vs. Book Boys Gone Wild
Delicious Vicious Cycles vs. Hero By Default
Alabama Witch Hunters vs. Be Grateful for Cookies 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Query Kombat Round 3 Starts Now!

Here we go! Round 3!

Entries are on Mike's Blog! This round lasts until June 22nd at 8 pm.

On Thursday, the hosts will call out for extra judges to come and break ties, or in case of extra close votes to try and get a more decisive margin. 

The entry with the most votes for Victory moves forward to the fourth round on June 24th!

Kombatants will not have any more chances to revise for the rest of the contest.

Reminders for the Entrants:

No commenting on your own entries until the last day of the round. If there is a problem with your entry, shout out to us on Twitter as soon as you can. If you don't have Twitter, you may comment on your entry telling me the mistake.

Also, we tried our hardest to make the match-ups as fair as possible and against as similar stories as possible. But, obviously, this is impossible to do perfectly and some match-ups may seen very random. We apologize for this but it's an evil of the system.

Kombatants should comment on 4 other match-ups to help share the love around!

Reminders for the Judges:

Wait until after one of us hosts comments on each entry first and reply to that comment to cast your votes. Try making your votes objective instead of subjective (but if you really love an entry subjectively, don't even feel bad about saying it was a subjective vote - subjectivity rules!).

Make sure to post under your nicknames!