Monday, October 8, 2012

Small Press Finalist #3 - Warwick Hall

Warwick Hall
YA Paranormal Murder Mystery
95,000 words


At Warwick Hall, the living and the dead both have secrets. Cassie has been waiting two years for her body to be found. She can’t remember how she died but she knows something is with her in the darkness--something from which even death is no protection.

Sophia Cross is a new student at Warwick Hall. Her father has taken up a teaching position at the school and they’re looking for a fresh start after a car crash left her mother dead and Sophia in a month-long coma. She doesn’t know where she was as she hovered between life and death, but she can still sense the darkness.

When Sophia moves into Cassie’s house, the girls learn to communicate via Magnetic Poetry. Cassie and Sophia will have to work together if they are to unravel the mystery behind Cassie’s death and the menacing presence that haunts them both. The answers are hidden somewhere within Warwick Hall, where everyone is a potential suspect and trusting the wrong person could get you killed.

First 150 words:

It was a beautiful day to be dead.

Cassie lay in a bed of leaves on the riverside. The sun peeked out from behind a cloud. She couldn’t feel it, but she imagined it to be warm.

She found herself waking up here more and more often. Cassie had been waiting almost two years for her body to be found. She didn’t know if this was Hell, but it sure wasn’t Heaven.

She shook the foliage out of her hair--to a passerby it would look like a sudden, isolated gust of wind. Cassie could never actually move anything when she wanted to, of course, but sometimes her energy brushed against the Living world.

She meandered back toward Warwick Hall, the prep school where her father had been the chaplain. She spied a doe taking a drink from the river, cool and sweet. The animal tensed as if it knew that she was there. The deer locked eyes with her and startled, loping off like it had seen, well, a ghost.

Cassie threw her hands in the air in frustration. The only sentient creatures that could see her were afraid of her. They sensed she shouldn’t be there, that she’d stayed too long at the party.

But she had no idea how to “move on” or “go into the light,” or whatever it was restless spirits were supposed to do. She couldn’t even have any fun haunting anyone because she didn’t know how to make the Living hear or see her.


Jessa Russo said...


I love your first sentence, and I LOVE the title. I can't wait to read more and find out what Magnetic Poetry is. I'm intrigued!

Please send your query in the body of the email, and first three chapters attached in a Word document to jessa [at] curiosityquills [dot] com.

Mallory Braus said...

You have a fantastic voice and the premise for this is super intriguing. Unfortunately, Carina Press is not accepting YA submissions--but I wish you the best with this! It definitely had me wanting to read more!

Unknown said...

Well, since Jessa beat me to the punch... GOOD LUCK! :-)

Btw, watch your pronouns. And where "She spied a doe taking a drink from the river, cool and sweet." This is a POV issue. (Yes, I'm a PITA editor.)

Patricia E. Riley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia E. Riley said...

You had me at "Magnetic Poetry"! That has got to be the most unique way of communicating with the beyond I've ever seen in a pitch, definitely makes me want to see where you go with it!

Spencer Hill Press would be happy to consider your novel! Please send the full manuscript, as a Word document to priley (at) spencerhillpress (dot) com and put "Your Title: GUTGAA Requested Manuscript" in the subject line. Also include your query in the body of the email.

Can't wait to read it!

Patricia E. Riley
Editor, Spencer Hill Press / Spencer Hill Contemporary

abuckley23 said...

This one make me wish I was a YA Editor. The premise sounds great, the title is wonderful, and your opening line rocks all sorts of awesome. Best of luck!