Saturday, October 25, 2014

NoQS Spooks 3: FINDING BEAUTY, YA Contemporary

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 57,000

My Main Character’s Most Fearsome Obstacle:
Daphne’s fearsome obstacle is the terror she’ll never be anything but a broken beauty queen. She’s planned her future around the fame, connections, and scholarships that pageants offer, but now that they’ve been taken away, Daphne doesn’t know what she’ll become. If she can get past her scars, she might find she’s worth more than tiaras and titles.


Sixteen-year-old pageant contender Daphne Phelps doesn't care who she steps on to take the Carolina Blossom crown. But when her victory party ends in mangled metal from a deer vs. BMW collision, she loses her looks, leg, best friend, and reputation all in one night.

With the press eager to capture her fall from grace, Daphne's parents exile her to their gated summer home on Fripp Island. Struggling to overcome phantom pains and the loss of her friend, Daphne further isolates herself, lashing out at those around her, especially at cute, seventeen-year-old landscaper Isaac Spicer.

Her insults don’t faze Isaac, and his unbreakable patience chips away her anger as he shows her the unfurling beauty of spring on the island. Little by little, Daphne looks forward to their trips around the yard and discount-bin horror movie nights. His kindness sparks her desire to pay it forward with a new idea for a community service project. With a new focus, Daphne might find a passion greater than winning a crown.

First 250 words:

Jaime’s sweaty palm slid against mine, but I resisted the urge to pull away. The stage lights turned everyone behind them into one big blur, but the pageant judges were watching every little move. They saw everything, even the reflection from Jaime’s lip gloss as she silently practiced her acceptance speech. I kept my hand firmly in hers and ignored the way she wobbled in her heels.

My confidence grew as my gaze shifted back to the nearly invisible audience.

The judges had whittled the competition to just the two of us. If the girl from Greenville stood here instead of Jaime, I might have had a challenge. I might’ve been a little scared. They’d fallen for Jaime’s barely-legal swimsuit. Still, my plan to expand the local mobile food bank services topped her bubbly ramble about car washes and cats.

I had worked for months to prepare for the Carolina Blossom pageant. Every outfit was painstakingly selected. I’d practiced my speeches in the mirror and to my friends Sara and Krys until they could recite the words with me. The hardwood floor in my hallway featured a worn spot from its hours as a runway while I tested out gowns and heels.

For Jaime, it was about a spotlight and a crown. To me, it was far more. I’d eagerly have traded the past eleven years of tiaras and sashes for this one. This one title would take me straight to the Miss Teen South Carolina Pageant.


  1. SCREAM!

    I would love to take a look at this! Please send the full to, and include NOQS in the subject line.

  2. Shriek! Please send the pages, synopsis and query to, and please put "Nightmare on Query Street request" in the subject line.

  3. Shriek! Please send me the ms in Word doc format, as well as the pitch and your bio, to my email address at #NoQs in the subject line will help me recognize it.

  4. Shriek! Please send the pages in a doc to!