Word count: 115,700
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Professional demon-hunter Lazarus loves his job. He loves the adrenaline rush, the clarity of combat, and the chance to be more than a broken thug. Most of all, he loves his angelic handler, Rebecca, who scraped him out of the gutter and gave him a purpose. For her, Laz would punch out the Sun.
Which is fortunate, because his current target is almost as formidable: a nigh-invulnerable necromancer, living on time stolen from his undead thralls, who's easily dispatched every other demon-hunter who dared face him. A more rational man would be worried, but Laz sees this mission as an opportunity. Killing this guy is sure to impress Rebecca. Maybe she'll even reconsider her "no fraternization with humans" policy.
But the shameful truth is that Laz's battle prowess isn't entirely his own. Five years ago, Laz promised his body and soul to a charismatic demon in exchange for immunity to demonic magic—and promptly skipped town without paying. Now, while Laz is hip-deep in the toughest mission of his life, his demon finally tracks him down... and it won't let him escape again.
First 250 Words:
Laz stared at the ceiling above his cot at three AM and decided that the worst thing about prison was the other prisoners. Five years of increasingly close pursuit by Hell's demons and America's cops had made it impossible for him to sleep when he could hear so many strangers nearby. So many potential threats.
His brothers in adversity had stiff competition for the title of Worst Thing, though. There was the physical discomfort: "One Size Fits Most" always meant "Way Too Small For You, Lazarus," but prison furnishings took that to an extreme. And the idleness: his internal engine ran hot at the best of times, but now, with no work to vent his energy on, he felt close to boiling over.
His eyes refused to shut. He covered his face with his hands, calloused palms pressed against battle scars and broken nose, and tried to force himself to relax. No good. He bit back a frustrated oath and rolled over onto his side, as if that would help.
Metal scraped against concrete as the computerized lock on his cell door slid open. The door swung outward in obedience to the ventilation system's constant draft, letting in a stripe of washed-out light.
Laz rolled out of bed to confront whoever had opened it, but there was no one on the other side. He crept to the entrance and looked up and down the dim corridor. Everyone's door was open, not just his.
Entry Nickname: Strange Fruit
Word count: 70K
Genre: Adult Contemporary (Darkly Humorous)
Reluctant hero Dan obtains a juicer that turns out to be possessed by the spirit of an ancient, evil necromancer. Dan finds that he can extract knowledge and abilities from whatever he juices. He learns what it is like to be an orange, absorbs information from newspapers and gains climbing abilities from a mix of ingredients that includes climbing DVDs and a Spiderman toy. However, the more he uses the juicer, the more the necromancer’s evil grows within him, causing his actions to become extreme.
Dan, as his friends are acutely aware, has been in love with Stephanie for as long as he can remember. When she dies, he is driven by a combination of remorse and the necromancer’s influence to juice her finger. When he drinks this ghastly concoction, he experiences the last moments of Stephanie’s life and discovers that she was murdered. Dan begins to question both his own sanity and the veracity of the visions he has been receiving. In a race against time, Dan tries to bring Stephanie’s murderer to justice without unleashing a far greater evil on the world, for should the necromancer free himself then nobody will be safe.
First 250 Words:
The feeling, initially, was not unlike flying. Proper flying that is, not flying inside a pressurised metal cylinder on a long-haul flight. The sort of flying you can only manage in a dream, or perhaps for a short period if you were to fall off a cliff. Much like falling, Dan felt little control over his velocity.
With a jolt (not a splat), the flight ended, and Dan was no longer Dan. Or at least, he was still Dan, but some kind of origami Dan; he was folded in upon himself again and again, both mentally and (seemingly to fit into a much smaller perimeter) physically. Despite these contortions, he felt fine; in fact he was warm and comfortable. There was a cool breeze, but it was refreshing rather than chilling. He was at one with his environment, swaying slowly with the air as it brushed past. He was plump, ripe and ready. He was orange. He was… An orange? An orange. A sweet, juicy fruit of the Citrus sinensis variety, commonly found in tropical and subtropical climates or, more frequently to Dan’s mind, on the shelf in a supermarket. As far as he could remember, though, he hadn’t been an orange before, had he? And oranges weren’t conscious, were they? Dan knew some vegetarians who would be seriously pissed off if turned out he was wrong about that.
The sensations of orangeness, of orangicity or whatever you might call it, were very strange. As well they might be, considering that Dan was fairly sure he was human, and therefore had human senses that had no fruity analogue.