Title: Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things
Word count: 77,000
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Seventeen-year-old Samantha Berger is pretty sure most nice Jewish girls aren’t forced by their parents to hunt for Bigfoot, especially on national T.V. Just when Sam thinks she couldn’t be more humiliated, she meets the competition: a team of snobby anthropology students from Yale who are set on wiping the floor with her “Squatch” loving family.
The captain of the other team, Devan Mehta, is impossibly cute in a Bollywood Romeo-meets-Sherlock Holmes sort of way — until he opens his perfect British mouth and calls her family a bunch of low-class wankers. Sam’s no longer just embarrassed. She’s livid, and determined to beat the ascot off Devan and his crew. After all, the prize money will allow her to study pre-med at the college of her dreams, far from Yetis and Yaleies.
Teamed up by the producers for a special challenge, Sam and Devan bond over family pressures, geek out over fantasy fiction, and learn to rely on each other. In a moment of honesty, Devan admits he may be kicked out of his anthropology program if his team fails and Sam worries about paying for college if she doesn’t win. Before they know it, understanding leads to attraction and a steamy snogging session. Now, as the competition heats up, Sam must choose between her ridiculous family and Devan. Suddenly, finding Bigfoot is just one of Sam’s hairy problems.
First 250 words:
On a good day, my parents were just mildly embarrassing. The day the camera crew came to our house was not a good day.
I squinted at the bright lights illuminating our dingy living room, and turned to my older sister, Sophie. “Hunting Bigfoot in private isn’t bad enough?” I whispered. “Now Mom and Dad have to humiliate us on national television?”
Sophie shrugged. “You’ve been complaining for weeks. It’s time to suck it up.”
Colin, the producer of a new TV show called “Myth Gnomers,” stood behind our scratched-up coffee table shooting pre-interviews with my parents, me, and my two sisters. The awful title of this lame reality show should’ve served as an obvious warning we were about to do something ridiculous, but nope, it sure didn’t.
Instead of running like hell, all five of us were squished together on our stained, saggy brown couch, smiles frozen in place. At least our butts hid the holes in the upholstery.
“Checking. Checking one, two. Your mics should all be on now.” Colin peered over the camera at my parents’ matching neon green shirts that read, “Ohio is Bigfoot Country.”
My mom’s smile tightened. She glared and gestured at me until I put on a Northern Ohio Bigfoot Society hat like my sisters. Each Sasquatch club designed their own logo. My tacky trucker cap had a cartoon footprint and a motto on it in Latin— which probably translates to “We have nothing better to do.”
I pulled the brim over my eyes and slumped down, wishing I could join the pennies and crumbs hiding in the crevices of the sofa.
Entry Nickname: A Burning Dilemma
Title: Burn, Baby
Word count: 62,000
Genre: YA Contemporary
The fates must have been laughing their asses off the day sixteen-year-old Ziggy's crackhead mom poured gas all over his big sister and lit her on fire. The tragedy that wrecked Layla's perfectly planned future gave him the life he'd always wished for, and too much guilt to ever enjoy it.
His mom got thirty-to-life and now Ziggy and his sister are living with a crazy but cool uncle in the suburbs, far away from the public housing apartments where they grew up. While Layla recovers, Ziggy is going to a private high school, driving his own car and inventing an awesome new online game with his new friends. Unfortunately, his once kind sister now hates everything, but mostly him, for saving her.
Until she connects with her poetry teacher, who falls in love with her angry words, and slowly draws her out from her prison of scars. But overprotective Ziggy isn’t happy about his eighteen-year-old sister dating a teacher. He must decide if he should interfere or wait to see if Mr. Osterman – despite the taboo – is what Layla needs to move on with her life. And maybe if Layla finds happiness, he can finally enjoy the new life he’s worked so hard to build for himself.
First 250 Words:
Lightning streaked across the Tampa sky, illuminating the cockroaches that feasted on the kitchen counter. Thunder cracked, slow and building until vibrations shuddered the tiny living room of our crap apartment, where I sat cross legged on the couch. My sister sprawled beside me, reading a book while I watched Dancing with the Stars, both of us pretending not to listen for Mom’s john on the outside stairs.
Aside from a couple of mattresses in the bedrooms, that was the extent of our furniture. A Goodwill couch which doubled as my bed and a junk TV on a milk crate. I held a box of Lucky Charms where Layla could reach, enjoying our family sit-down dinner.
“What’re you reading?” I asked during a commercial.
She looked up, her fake scowl only highlighting her exceptional beauty. Freckled apple cheeks and gorgeous blue eyes that turned heads wherever we went. I know that’s a weird thing for a brother to notice, but I was counting on that face to end up in magazines or on TV, and thereby bankrolling our split from this shit life and the crack-pipe-sucking harpy we called "Mom".
Layla waved the cover of some teen romance in my face. “A book. You should try it sometime.”
The rain messed up the picture, so I got up to fiddle with the rabbit ears, only making things worse. Frustrated, I flopped back down beside her, catching the cereal box before it bounced to the floor.