Ms. Wells chose three winners to receive a critique of their first 10 pages! We will be listing those winners below, as well as contacting them directly and supplying them with an email address to which they should send their pages.
Ms. Wells also found a few entries that intrigued her enough that she is going to be contacting the authors directly to request material. If you are one of these people, you will get an email directly from Ms. Wells by Saturday, June 4th. Please do not contact her to inquire whether you are on that list -- you will get an email from her if you are.
WINNERS: Please send your first 10 pages (QT will provide you with the address in an email).
On to the winners of the 10-page critiques -- drumroll please!
Winner 1. Darkest Light by Rebecca Sutton (YA Paranormal)
"Hi, my name is Ava and I'm," I say, pausing to pick at a splinter sticking up from the wood podium.
"Hi, Ava." The crowd responds in a monotone unison.
I know I'm supposed to continue. But what's the point in me saying it? We all know why I'm here. One of the tracks of fluorescent lights flickers and I look up. The ceiling of the church basement, filled with brown water stains, sags with age. The smell of one of those gross flavored coffees (hazelnut or creme de nasty) and mildew make me want to gag.
Someone coughs in the front row. A clear your throat kind of cough meant to get attention. Leonard, the man who runs the meetings is staring at me, his eyes bulging, nodding for me to continue. Beads of sweat collect at the top of his shiny, bald head.
From the moment I met the guy he was pushy. Play by the book, stick to the schedule. Trust the system. If it weren't for him I wouldn't even be up here introducing myself like this is some goddamn AA meeting. At first glance, this meeting looks like a regular support group, but it's far from it.
Ignoring the fact that Leonard's practically falling off his chair to get my attention now, I take a deep breath and say,"...and I'm here because I made a deal with the Devil."
Winner 2. Seeing by Nik Johnson (Quinn) (YA Paranormal Thriller)
I didn't know who she was, or what the f--- she was doing in my room, but she was naked. The shirt I was holding slipped from my hand and I stopped short.
She was in front of the window with her head cocked to the side, looking right at me, like she had been waiting for me. White-blonde hair, parted in the middle, fell to her waist. Her left breast was covered, but the other one, I could see. My eyes drifted lower. She was shaved. No hair. None.
"Who"--I took a breath and began again--"who are you?"
"My name's Alice," she said. I glanced up at her face and she smiled, straightening her head."Don't be afraid, Eden."
Alice seemed like a nice name. A girl named Alice wouldn't hurt me. I wasn't afraid. I was more focused on the fact that my jeans were getting tighter. Normally, I guess I'd be embarrassed getting hard in front of someone, but she was naked; we were past that.
My mind wasn't working right ... I couldn't really piece together my thoughts. I didn't know her. I'd never seen this girl before. I thought of walking back out of the room; instead, I stepped into the room and closed the door.
Winner 3. The Silent Sister by Megan Macijauskas (Paranormal)
It is eight-oh-six a.m. Visiting hours have just begun but the waiting room is empty. I sit in a squeaky plastic chair as my mother fills out my release papers. The nurse behind the plexiglass divider slides a bottle of pills across the counter. Mom shoves them in her handbag without looking at them.
The nurse's voice is high-pitched and annoyingly bright. I hear her say things like psychotic break and catatonic state and sink low in the chair. If she knew what I was capable of, she would not be signing over my freedom so cheerfully.
I'm wearing the standard-issue white t-shirt and gray sweatpants that everyone wears here. They take the strings out of the pants, but the elastic is so tight, an angry red groove digs into my waist. I don't know how the extended stay patients endure it. No wonder they're crazy.
When my mom is finally done with forms and instructions, she turns to me and jerks her head toward the door."C'mon. Let's get out of here."
Outside, the morning sunlight is hard and white and makes me ache everywhere. It's not warm. Or comforting. It burns my eyes, which are used to florescent lights and darkened windows.
The second we are out the door, my mother grabs me by the shoulders and shoves me against the hospital's brick wall. I stop breathing. Her face is inches from mine. She bunches one hand tight in my t-shirt and pulls it right up to my chin. Her knuckles are as white as the cloth they're wrapped around. Behind her, a startled bystander mumbles under his breath and quickly shuffles away.
"Do you have any idea what you've done?" My mother's voice is a brittle shard."You can't ever, ever lose control like that. Do-you-understand?" She draws out each syllable of the question through clenched teeth.
* * *A huge congratulations to all the winners, and thank you again to Ms. Wells!