Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Writer's Voice 2013: LEAD ME BACK HOME



Woot! I won the lottery! What lottery? The one that let me into the awesome Writer’s Voice contest, hosted by Brenda Drake, Cupid, Monica B.W., and Krista Van Dolzer. (For all the details about this contest, click here.)

Thanks, beautiful hosts, for letting us stick our necks out!


Query

LEAD ME BACK HOME is a YA supernatural, complete at 81,000 words.

Sixteen-year-old Trisha Myles thought her sister loved her. But after her sister commits suicide, it turns out she wished Trisha never existed. Confused and guilt-ridden, Trisha takes her sister’s suicide note to heart and abandons her friends and old life to become a social ghost. Not existing is sort of peaceful—until a vicious bully targets her.
She’s saved by Jesse Reagan; the one guy in Hoghfield, Alabama, who outranks her as an outcast. Trisha’s desire to live blossoms, but friendship with Jesse is more than she bargained for. When she sees the slashes on his arms, Jesse explains he’s been cursed by a botched magic ritual. Now, spirits pass through a gateway embedded in his body, and the only way to stop the revolving door is by sealing it with blood magic. Trisha thinks he’s insane—especially when he tells her someone cursed her, too. But after the freak accidents start, Trisha begins to believe. And when she witnesses a spirit pass through the gateway and Jesse is nearly crushed by a truck, she knows it’s not a delusion.
When the accidents increase and the gateway demands more blood magic from a weakening Jesse, they have no choice but to seek help from his coven—the same group that accidentally cursed him. A ritual can save them, but their preparations reveal ties between Trisha and Jesse that go beyond their curses: ties that link Jesse’s coven to Trisha’s sister’s death.
With more questions than they started with, time to perform the ritual is running out. Soon the gateway will bleed Jesse dry. If Trisha can’t save him, she will lose the boy she’s come to love…if a spirit-backed accident doesn’t claim her first.
When I’m not laying down the words, I’m dreaming up my next Halloween costume, making experimental cakes, or willing my garden to grow.  

First 250:

The DVD fell from my shaking fingers. I stood frozen as I stared at my sister, my thoughts slipping like stripped gears. Kelsie lay across the bed, an empty pill bottle resting loosely in her manicured fingers with Daddy’s name printed neatly on the label. Her golden hair draped over the edge of the mattress like the clocks in the Dali painting we studied in freshman Art last year. The smoky eye shadow around her glassy eyes was perfect, her lip gloss smudge-free on her lips as a wondrous smile stole across her expression. She stared at me but didn’t see me. As my lungs filled to call for help, hers exhaled her last breath.
I tripped as I ran downstairs and barely caught myself on the bannister. No one was home. Daddy was still at his office, and Mom had gone to the salon. She’d offered to take us, but it was Kelsie’s first trip home from Mulby University, and I begged her to spend the day with me. We hadn’t seen each other since summer, and I was dying to tell her about this guy who’d just come back to school. I was going to bring it up during the movie… but her plans were different than mine.
The police came; I couldn’t remember if I’d called them. I clutched my cellphone, its red plastic exterior creaking under the pressure of my fingers, so I supposed I had. An officer escorted me into the kitchen and offered me a bottle of water from our refrigerator.

25 comments:

  1. I think you have a really interesting premise going on here, though I think your query may be a tidge too long. I would think about cutting out lines you don't absolutely need so it is snappier and screams 'READ ME". Good luck in the competition!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah yes, I still love this opening, ever since I first read it in our Pitch Madness inbox. So evocative. Good luck with it! :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. You know how very fond (and jealous) I am of that "slipping like stripped gears" line. o.O Good luck, Brandi! I hope Lead Me Back Home makes it through to the finals. Phingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really love the twist that the suicide may have been a murder. That shakes up all the emotional baggage and adds more. Good luck in the contest!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds like an interesting read. The blood magic rituals have me intrigued and make me want to learn more about the supernatural stuff happening in their world. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ooh, I like the concept of a gateway for spirits being embedded in somebody - how chilling! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, you've got some really powerful stuff here! Great premise, and fantastic snippet! I look forward to reading more. :)

    Good luck in the contest, and happy writing!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love your opening lines. Very gripping. Best wishes and good luck during the contest.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Arkansas Represent!!!

    Hey Brandi so nice to meet you!

    I loved your sample, this sounds like just the kind of creepy, gut wrenching thrill fest I love!!

    Good Luck in the contest!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh and we need to chat more...I love to find Arkansas writer's. Are you an SCBWI member? Will you be at the conference in June?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not a member...yet. I don't have plans to go in June, but I'd really like to go one day.

      Delete
    2. Yay! Hopefully we'll get to meet there one year!!

      Delete
  12. I love this opening! Good luck in the contest :) (Go TwitWits!!)

    ReplyDelete
  13. The is an intriguing premise and I quite like your voice. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  14. The intensity of this . . . I'm practically shaking after reading the query alone. Brilliantly done!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I feel for your MC just from the query and the first 250 leave me wanting to see her to the end of her story. Awesome. Best of luck to you. !:)

    ReplyDelete
  16. ALL OF THE YES. GIVE ME THIS BOOK NOW. I was maybe two paragraphs in when I flailed at my laptop because THIS STORY. It blends three of my favorite books--Everneath, Anna Dressed in Blood, and Blood Magic--and HOMG need this on my shelf next to all three.

    And then your 250. It's just not friggin fair that I can't read more of it!!!

    Dear judges: PLEASE HELP MAKE THIS BOOK HAPPEN. PLEEEASE.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Having a gateway for spirits inside someone is SUPER creepy. The blood magic only adds to the haunting/cursed feel you've got going on.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This premise is amazing. It really feels like a book that would keep me up at night - even after I had finished reading it! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This beginning definitely grabs our attention. Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is an amazing, compelling opening. Your query is just as good. Best of luck to you!

    ReplyDelete