Monday, October 31, 2011

THE GREAT QUERY CONTEST: ROUND 2


Welcome to part two, where, like on American Idol, you get to vote. Please select your favorite by midnight (EST) Sunday, November 6th. I'll announce the winner on Monday the 7th. And on a side note, this was an especially wonderful group of queries this year! I suspect that many of them will be picked up and published. So, without further ado, here are this year's contenders (in the order they were received and critiqued): 

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#1: NOCTURNE

Betrayed by his family and by love, seventeen-year-old Gabriel Durante has no one to turn to but the demon he serves. Now a high school dropout, Gabriel haunts the streets of San Francisco and collects souls from the dead so his demon, Moira, can feed on their energy.

After Moira causes a disastrous fire that kills a man, Ana, the victim's 16-year-old sister, seeks out Gabriel. Gabriel tries to scare her away, only to find himself wanting to devour her soul--a sign that he's becoming a demon himself.

Gabriel finds out that the only way to become human again is to kill Moira. But he's nearly out of time and he can't do it alone. He must team up with Ana and the Angel of Death to kill the demon--or die trying.

NOCTURNE is a YA Urban Fantasy complete at 95,000 words.

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#2: OUT OF THE WATER

Eighteen-year-old Rosa becomes separated from her family as they flee their Spanish homeland – and the Inquisition. Now her life is in the hands of a stranger, Baha, an artist from the Ottoman Empire. He is her one hope of reaching Constantinople and reuniting with her family. As they travel together, Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side. 

Despite her family's refusal to accept her marriage to a man of a different faith, when janissaries arrest her father and brother, Rosa and Baha risk everything to rescue them. Together they will prove that their love can withstand their differences... if the Grand Vizier doesn't throw them both into the dungeons first.

OUT OF THE WATER is complete at 120,000 words.

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#3: SPRING TIDE

All sixteen year old Sarah Parker has to do is attend a party Friday night, pretend she's having fun, and hope to catch a glimpse of her long time crush, Marcus David. Instead she saves the party's host from near death, battles an alien called an "Outsider," and wakes up in the hospital.

So much for kicking butt.

Even though the entire school thinks she's a freak, hunkalicious Marcus still hangs out with Sarah. Sarah hopes her crush will turn into something more... but soon discovers Marcus has a few secrets of his own--like the reason he's always around to protect her when the Outsiders return.

When Marcus is accused of murdering a fellow student, Sarah must fight to clear his name while unravelling the mystery of her own destiny.

Spring Tide is complete at 55,000 words.

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#4: THREADS

 “Her reality cracked down the middle like a badly made clay pot, and all her assumptions of what was real and normal leaked out the bottom.”

When nineteen-year-old Alice Cunningham learns she’s inherited her eccentric great Aunt’s vacuum cleaner shop, she isn’t particularly impressed. But when she visits the shop it changes (into…?). Her aunt’s old employee has some wild stories to tell about the shop, its customers, and even Alice herself…

Alice sheds her shy reserve as she enters her new life. Learning magic is fun, and the fact that the shop can move anywhere in the world is pretty awesome… until she meets Alexie Ambrose, Greek titan-turned-pop star. Ambrose's interest in Alice turns into a dangerous obsession. He wants her for more then her sparkling personality and good looks, and he’s not letting her go until he gets what he wants…

Threads is Ella Enchanted meets Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Complete at 100,000 words, it tells the story of a young woman who goes from wallflower to powerful female.

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#5: SACRIFICE

In one horrific night, Ava Shore loses everything. After discovering the truth about her father's death and witnessing the murder of her mother, she sees the King's Advisor for who he really is -- a coldblooded killer on a mission to uncover the whereabouts of a powerful blue stone.

Ava uncovers a plot to assassinate the King but when her attempt to foil it fails, she has no choice but to flee across The River to The Burbs, a part of the country reserved for the worst criminals. There she joins the most notorious gang in return for their protection.

Surrounded by murder and deceit Ava resists becoming the person everyone thinks she is, "The Crownkiller." The wisdom and love from a gang member assists her in discovering herself and accepting her situation. But when a friend's life is threatened in an attempt to ensure her capture, Ava sacrifices everything to save him.
Sacrifice is a 96,000 word, YA dystopian novel.

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#6: ALL SHE NEEDS IS LOVE

Everything Emma Francis owns fits in a garbage bag. Don't you dare pity her. She's survived the foster care system and is finally eighteen, free to make her own decisions. It's about time.

Unfortunately, due to the foster-care-shuffle, Emma hasn't stayed in one place long enough to put anything other than decent grades on her college applications. Community service is a must. A friend suggests she volunteer at her church and it is there she meets Gigi, a blonde haired, blue-eyed, opinionated little girl, who is more than willing to be Emma's charity case.

As Gigi wiggles her way under Emma's hard shell, someone else pokes through the cracks. Emma is far from a damsel in distress, but when she's attacked behind the diner her knight in shining t-shirt comes to her rescue. She never expects it to be South High's quarterback, known to her simply as Burger and Fries, an order he delivers with a charming smile every week. But there's more to Sam than a strong appetite and a great throwing arm. He morphs from friend to boyfriend so slowly Emma doesn't even realize her guard is faulty.

Emma's life plan is in full swing until Gigi's sorry excuse for a father kills himself in a drunk driving accident. Gigi is headed for hell, the foster system. Emma must decide if she's willing to change everything she has planned to save Gigi from the life she was forced to endure.

ALL SHE NEEDS IS LOVE is Contemporary YA complete at 67,000 words.

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#7: THE MESSENGER'S HANDBOOK

After sixteen-year-old Madeline is pushed onto the subway tracks, she wakes in 1675, during King Philip's War--the sole survivor of a Native massacre of a settlement in colonial Massachusetts. Rescued and taken back to the colonists' garrison, as a modern girl she knows more about texting than weaving textiles. Her weird behavior starts rumors of witchcraft, and the crime she does commit--falling in love with a Native boy--could also get her killed. The only way she can get home and save both of their lives is train with the Medicine Woman and fulfill her destiny as a Messenger, a time traveler. But the Hunters, dark-souled predators as well as time travelers, are closing in... and they'll kill her if she doesn't join them.

The Messenger's Handbook is a YA romantic time travel thriller complete at 62,000 words.

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#8: TRIANGLE

The travel brochure promised an "escape from reality." Her sister promised it would be the best family vacation ever. But when seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor's ship glides into the Bermuda Triangle, her days become a blur of Twilight Zone episodes—and she's the star of the show.

She speaks to her dead father, fights with a stepbrother she doesn't have, and finds herself in a heated love triangle with a coworker and his half-brother. Waking up with cancer pushes her to the edge of a mental breakdown, sending her to the ship's doctor for help. Dr. Hardy warns her that any of these alternate lives could become permanent—which is what happened to her during her own trip through the Triangle. Autumn struggles to figure out what’s going on, while everyone on the ship, including her sister, accepts each day as if it were the norm. When Autumn returns to the clinic for more answers, she finds the doctor was never on the ship's registry.

Now, with no one to help her, Autumn has a few things to figure out: a way out of the Triangle, why she's the only one who's been affected by the strange occurrences, and why this is happening to her. If she can’t get her real life back on track, she may end up spending the next sixty years trapped in a life she was never meant to live.

TRIANGLES is a 59,000 word young adult urban fantasy.

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#9: MIRRORMASTERS

Leah Ellis has a mission to save her homeworld--if the ones who unleashed the impending apocalypse don’t eliminate her first.

Leah’s gift as a MirrorMaster lets her travel to other places, even worlds light years away. That’s how she accidentally arrived on Earth thirteen years ago. Now fifteen, she discovers her otherworldly origins--and her ability--through a prophecy foretelling the return of a lost MirrorMaster. The youngest in her adoptive family, she’s always had others protecting her. Now, for the sake of billions of lives, she must protect an entire planet.

Knowing only she can wield the crystals needed to activate a device that will stop the apocalypse, Leah leaves behind everyone and everything she loves on Earth. On Jantyr she discovers a dying yet still beautiful world and a people who share all they have with each other. Through a desert of singing sands, to a bioluminescent jungle populated by thunderbeasts with razor-sharp teeth, to moving caverns that float above a golden sea, she races to find the crystals before it's too late. If she's going to succeed in her mission, she must keep the ones responsible for the devastation from killing her first. But activating the device may require her to sacrifice not only her life, but her soul.

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#10: THE FORCES OF HEAVEN AND HELL ALIKE

The demon Liam has been hiding a romantic relationship with the angel Mikael for centuries. When a battle for Heaven places them on opposing sides, Liam must decide if a victory for Hell is more important than losing the one being who taught him good and evil aren't easily defined.

Liam enjoys being a demon. He gets to travel the Midwest on his motorcycle, chartering contracts for souls and feeding his addiction to coffee; a leftover need thanks to the body he now inhabits. He's got a right-hand man who follows his orders without question and who is more than happy to do most of the work on their assignments. This allows Liam to have more time for himself, and more importantly more time to spend with Mikael. Not even the minor annoyance of having to deal with archangel Gabriel's sworn vengeance can interrupt his life for too long.

Thus far, Gabriel's attacks have been weak and no real threat; more a source of mocking by Liam towards Heaven's less-than-competent solider. But now Heaven's in disarray, after God's gone AWOL, and Gabriel sees the opportunity to take the throne for himself. The death of Liam would surely prove his worth as a leader, so he takes a new approach to an old problem. The next soldier to go up against Liam will be trained by the best teacher in heaven—Mikael. Now the angel must decide how far he can go to protect Liam while serving Heaven, and Liam must save him from having to make the choice.

THE FORCES OF HEAVEN AND HELL ALIKE is an 80,000 word completed urban fantasy.

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#11: REMAINDERS

Sneaking out didn't turn out to be such a good plan after all.

Sixteen-year-old Camryn Brock ends up needing a white knight-style rescue when a group of drunk guys get some bad ideas. And then a stranger named Christian saves her. But there's only one problem: he's pretty insistent that she not go home.

Trapped at his family’s secluded Maine estate, Camryn discovers Christian is a lot to take in: sixteen, stubborn, sizzling-hot, and oh, yeah--in charge of a group of elite warriors chosen to fight evil.

Camryn shouldn’t fall in love, and she definitely shouldn’t want to stay--but she does.

She must figure out what the Remainders are hiding, what Christian really wants with her, and how she’s gonna get her butt back home.

But mainly? Why she fits in so damn well.

REMAINDERS is a YA paranormal romance complete at 85,000 words.

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#12: THE SECRET LIFE OF LEMONS

If Junie Baltimore had spent more time listening to the transistor radio in her family's restaurant, she would've heard the song and known that it was always meant for her.

Junie, a Bon Jovi-obsessed eighteen-year-old, bakes in her parents' restaurant while she for her chance at Food Network fame. When her gorgeous boyfriend dumps her for the former prom queen, her parents whisk her away on a family vacation to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There she stumbles into an adventure with a boy from her childhood, Robert Montgomery, and a single song--a song filled with lucid, beautiful, perfect notes.

A song about her.

By the end of the week, Junie has to make a choice. She wants to hear that song with all perfect notes, the one that might change her life forever, but when her ex-boyfriend comes crawling back with flowers and apologies, she's tempted to give him another chance. Junie has to discover that the heart is more reliable than it seems, and that with a little help from Bon Jovi, sometimes it’s now or never. She ain’t gonna live forever.

THE SECRET LIFE OF LEMONS is a Young Adult romance with a zest of Anna and the French Kiss and Audrey, Wait!--a kissing kind of book that, at the heart, becomes about those roads not taken, and where they might have led. It is complete at 78,000 words.

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#13: MAX’S HOUSE #1: NEW BEGINNINGS

Max Seward, Jr., thought the summer of 1941 would be the best summer ever. His summer vacation starts with the girl he’s always liked finally becoming his girlfriend. But later that same day, Max’s father announces he’s divorced his mother, who has disappeared. Everyone in town knew they didn't have the greatest marriage, but divorce is something scandalous, especially for the town's wealthiest family.

The very next day Max’s father brings home a strange woman with three young daughters and announces they’re getting married. The discovery that the two of them have been having an affair for years shocks Max and his siblings, and his new "sisters" are monsters.

Max's cousin Elaine is the new girl in town, and no one but Max’s new girlfriend seems to like her. She also makes an enemy by dating a guy whom Mary, a local girl, has had her eye on. Mary turns half the town against her--even recruiting the guy's little sister to her cause--in her efforts to break the two of them up.

When Max and Elaine are sent home early from the first "family" vacation, they return to a locked mansion, and then… (?)

MAX’S HOUSE #1: NEW BEGINNINGS, the first in a YA series combining historical fiction, humor, and social satire, is complete at 60,000 words.

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#14: BLACK LACE AND THE CLOCK TOWER

Eighteen-year-old Vivienne would rather study the clockwork mechanics in Merlin's tower than perform her duties as Lady Guinevere's lady-in-waiting. She needs the distraction now more than ever—Squire Marcus, with his violet eyes and contagious energy, has captured Vivienne’s heart, but he's about to take a vow of chastity.

When the king’s sorceress sister, Morgan le Fay, threatens the kingdom, Vivienne must choose: she can help Merlin create the perfect weapon: a revolutionary blend of steam-powered machinery and the mystical science of alchemy, or she can return Marcus’s declaration of love and run away with him. But if she does, Camelot will lose its only hope--the terrifying weapon that dwells in the secret catacombs… which only she can awaken.

BLACK LACE AND THE CLOCK TOWER, a YA steampunk romance, is complete at 98,000-words.

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  • #1: NOCTURNE
  • #2: OUT OF THE WATER
  • #3: SPRING TIDE
  • #4: THREADS
  • #5: SACRIFICE
  • #6: ALL SHE NEEDS IS LOVE
  • #7: THE MESSENGER'S HANDBOOK
  • #8: TRIANGLE
  • #9: MIRRORMASTERS
  • #10: THE FORCES OF HEAVEN AND HELL ALIKE
  • #11: REMAINDERS
  • #12: THE SECRET LIFE OF LEMONS
  • #13: MAX’S HOUSE #1: NEW BEGINNINGS
  • #14: BLACK LACE AND THE CLOCK TOWER

5 comments:

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

You can vote as often as the site will let you (it should only be once), and feel free to ask your friends, blog followers, and people you meet on the street to vote, too!

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

Thanks Kate!

This contest was not only fun, but your notes were incredibly helpful.

Best,

Lora said...

This was such an exciting contest, and I second what Pamela said about how incredibly helpful it's been!

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

I'm so glad it's been helpful! I LOVED the submissions this year; they were really high quality.

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