Thursday, March 23, 2017

0 Red Light/Green Light: Pitches

Thank you so much to all of our wonderful Red Light/Green Light entrants! If you missed the opening paragraphs of our pool of entries, they can be read here. They all show real promise and I know it was difficult for our judging agent to choose between them.

Here are the pitches for the ten entries which progressed from our last round.

My Span of Forever
YA Contemporary
Laura McFadden

Gillian imagines she lives in a sterile bubble. Armed with her two best friends, bleach wipes and antibacterial gel, Gillian can't be hurt. She has everything under control. After all, she only sterilizes surfaces in public spaces and showers in a specific pattern designed to eradicate all germs. But that's just being smart, especially during flu season.

Then she meets Dave, school genius, in her math class. He's not turned off by her quirks and obsessive cleaning. With him, her constant soundtrack of contamination becomes muffled. When they touch, she doesn't visualize germs sneaking into her pores.

In what should have been the perfect start to the New Year, Dave tells Gillian he loves her. But accepting his love and expressing her feelings would shatter the safe, sanitary bubble she's created. She must find a way to let in love with all its messiness, or end up sanitizing tables for the rest of her life--alone.

The Sundown Society
YA Paranormal
Chris Wuchte

Is a secret a secret when the only person in town who doesn’t know the secret is you?

Rhiannon Smith is a vampire. Or, at least what passes for a vampire these days. She drinks blood, or “tomato juice”, as her mother’s been telling her all these years, so technically, yes, she is a vampire, though she feels more like a strange girl who rarely goes out much than anything else.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that being a vampire would actually have been a plus in her hometown of Chillimark, which is filled with vampires, werewolves, mummies (Egyptian and Aztec), fairies - pretty much any creature that can reasonably blend in with society. Those who can’t live in the Hinterlands, a forest on the outskirts of town. So why was she kept in the dark all these years about something everyone else knew?

When circumstances force Rhiannon to go to school for the first time, she learns of the mysterious Sundown Society, a group that did something years ago that caused the citizens of Chillimark to be wary of all children who share Rhiannon’s birth year. With the aid of her new friends, including a Will o’ the Wisp who doesn’t know how to glow and a werewolf with asthma., Rhiannon finds herself on an adventure that will change her life.

The Devils' Keys
MG Steampunk Fantasy
Sussu Leclerc

In the desert of Morocco where the devils run free and no drop of water parches your throat, twelve-year-old Anise, a young magician-apprentice faces his final graduation challenge: kill dust devils that plague his village and find the key to unlocking the hearts.

Demons have the keys that lock people's hearts and whisper in people’s ears so that they can lock their hearts. They use the keys against the inhabitants of DarBeidah, Anise's village.
There is one kind of key that has the potential to re-open their hearts to goodness.

When the good keys are put away, the village is falling under a plague of bad deeds, causing the black knight, a bandit, and some air pirates to rat people out.
Anise sets out to find the lair of the demons and steal the good keys to restore hope to his village. Only a child with a pure heart can do this, but since he needs to lie to gain entry and steal them, that's a problem.

The Lost Coast
YA Paranormal
Erika Daggett

Seventeen-year-old empath, Guin Mannon, is looking for a new start. Determined to suppress her empathic gift and turn the corner on “normal,” she heads for her aunt’s dusty gift shop in the California redwoods. The Sasquatch’s Paw Souvenir Emporium seems like the perfect place to spend a few quiet months, avoiding people and the temptation to use her abilities.

But Guin’s plans for an uneventful summer don’t include Ben, the shop's prickly new employee. As Guin is drawn closer to Ben, she discovers that he’s hiding vital secrets of his own: Ben is a shape-shifting forest guardian and a sworn enemy of human-kind. He’s enduring the difficult transformation from sasquatch to human, because it’s the only way to find his missing family. Ben is convinced that someone close to Guin betrayed his family’s secrets, causing an attack that ended in the capture of his mother and sister. He suspects her beloved Aunt Lyndie. 

Torn between loyalty to her aunt and the bonds she’s forging with Ben, Guin races to unravel the threads of mystery surrounding the attack, even though finding the truth may mean embracing the fearsome price of her abilities.

Rafter's Rats
YA Sci Fi
Samuel Chapman

Yesterday, fourteen-year-old Rafter Loosestrife was another dirty orphan. Today, he’s on the run as pirates and police comb the streets of Pale Spaceport. His crime: premeditated bombing of the flagship of the galaxy’s most famous pirate, Jackameer Sangham.

As for whether he’s guilty, even Rafter isn’t sure.

He’s always had the power to recharge any battery with one touch. It was how he survived. Trade cash for a charge, then run, before some lord decided to lock him in a cellar to charge batteries for the rest of his life.

But then a boiler Rafter’s supposed to be resurrecting explodes and takes half Sangham’s ship with it. Rafter knows boiler batteries don’t have that kind of power. The only thing in the room that could have done it was the strange magic in his hands.

Pirate money owns Pale Spaceport, setting the port authority against Rafter along with Sangham’s vengeful crew. If he ever wants to escape being a fugitive, he has to prove his once-harmless power isn’t the first stirring of a weapon strong enough to dominate the galaxy--the very thing the police fear and Captain Sangham wants.

Gates on the Way to the Great Upstairs
YA Contemporary
Laura Levin

Fourteen-year-old Evan Tauber believes he’s responsible for the death of his father. Now, after keeping the painful details of their argument a secret for almost a year, Evan has a premonition during a near-death experience in a swimming pool: he will die on the anniversary of his father’s death and meet his dad in the afterlife to apologize.
Evan doesn’t know how it will happen exactly – that worries him a little. Or maybe even a lot. So he focuses instead on the upside of dying, namely a chance to redeem himself with his father. He also does what he can to prepare, which means accomplishing a few goals before the anniversary: he has to make sure his best friend will take care of his little brother, a challenge because Skeet and Jeffrey hate each other; he needs to figure out a way to make his mom unspeakably angry so she won’t miss him quite as much if he dies; and he has to tell the new girl, Meg, he’s in love with her, even though he’s never even said hello to her. The goals are in place, and Evan has less than two weeks to meet them. But when he’s left unexpectedly with a choice whether to live or die, Evan will soon find out where the road to redemption really leads.

The Witch and the Demon
YA Fantasy
Katherine Toran

Fleeing a witch-hunt and fatally injured, eighteen-year-old Ebba wants her death to mean more than her life did. When she stumbles upon Kryptos, a demon whose heart has been ripped out, pity prompts her to sacrifice her heart as a replacement.

Ebba awakes to discover that Kryptos has saved her by replacing her blood with fire, but also bound her life to his will. He conscripts her into a death match with eleven other champions of Hell. She’s less than enthused about the tournament’s prize—leadership of an upcoming invasion of her world. Determined to right her mistake, she resolves to sabotage the demons…even at the cost of her life.

Before Ebba can backstab Kryptos, she needs his training to survive battles against a shadow-wielding knight, a witch who sees the future, and a God-King. She gets entirely too close to Kryptos when she accidentally initiates a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, Kryptos becomes increasingly tempting. Without any remaining ties to humanity, it becomes harder and harder to betray her only friend—who possesses her heart in more ways than one.

Land of Sand and Stars
YA Historical Fantasy
Sara-Marissa Patel

A rebellion is rising. Her religion outlawed. As the Persians revolt against their Median overlords, seventeen-year-old Āmitis’s father betroths her to the ruthless High King of Media—Astyages—and offers her beloved desert province as a second capital. With the power to take or give life with the touch of her hand, Āmitis has the ability and desire to save herself and her people, even if it means usurping rule from her tyrannical father and putting herself on the throne as the governing ruler to align herself with the rebellion.

Before she has the opportunity to publicly side with the Persian rebellion leader who happens to be the grandson of the High king of Media—Cyrus—, everything is jeopardized. Astyages’ arrival and his demand of marriage or war leaves her with one choice, to use her powers to take the High King’s life. But it fails.

As Astyages and Cyrus prepare for war, Āmitis and her people are caught in the middle. To stop the war from starting within her city, Āmitis pledges allegiance to Astyages in a dangerous, bloody plan of deception to either kill, or deliver, Astyages into Cyrus’s hands. Diving into war when summoned into the empire beyond and proving her loyalty while keeping her true intentions secret could costs the lives of those around her. Her growing feelings for Cyrus complicate her plan. If she doesn’t succeed, looming ahead may be not only her and Cyrus’s death, but the destruction of two empires ravaged by war.

When I Wake
YA Fantasy
Beth Wertz

Raya has moved back to the town she left after her father's death at the age of three, and is only concerned with making it through the first day without getting stepped on due to her sleeping disorder. When she finds herself in her forest-filled dreams in the first week of school after passing out on the cold linoleum floor, her only concern is to make it all stop again. That is, until she meets a girl in the woods who claims to want to help her fight a war Raya knows nothing about. And until she meets Julian, who claims to be her dad's best friend, and who wants her to reclaim her powers and stay safe from the magical world's leaders, who want her head on a stick. And until she accepts that she has never had any disorder, and instead was born with the power of astral projection, and must face the world into which her powers bring her head-on.

Fascinated by her new world and her new powers, Raya finds it difficult to strike a balance between her life in Pennsylvania and her duties in Pirondea. Not to mention, the longer she stays in the magical world, the easier it will be for its leaders to find her and kill her. After learning of her father's legacy, The Vitality Stones, she makes it her mission to find them and use them to protect herself, until Julian gets kidnapped and her priorities change.

Raya must figure out how to find the only father figure she has left while battling school- and magic-related problems before it's too late for her and for Julian.

YA Fantasy
Nicole Surrusco

Serena d’Hanna was six years old when her father took her to see the ghost horse and told her about the magic of stories. Nearly a decade later, most tall tales center around his absence, but the ghost horse continues to run wild in the hills near Serena’s home.

The horse is a comforting presence—something she needs as her coming-of-age looms and her family teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. So when a stranger arrives in Nairne intent on capturing the horse, she befriends him in an attempt to change his mind. Soon, she finds herself drawn to his campfire for other reasons, enchanted by Doran’s stories of kings and a legendary warhorse named Chanteron. 

But their friendship is a dangerous game. Doran is from Lassar, the country that stole her father away and will steal her sister, too, if they discover Gisele is growing into magic instead of out of it as she should. In the capital, Gisele would be required to live and serve where whispers of war hint that Lassar isn’t done fighting for its magic yet. After Doran admits he was the first person to lay eyes on the ghost horse on the night Gisele was born, Serena realizes they are all part of a much larger story—and that if she doesn’t face the truth of Doran’s and the horse’s identity, she’ll have to give up more than a horse before the end. 

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