Monday, March 26, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #9

Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 62,000


The first time Emma touches the old key at her grandfather’s house, she passes out cold. When she uses that key to unlock a cabinet door and finds a meadow inside, she’s not sure if she just found a way into Narnia or needs a CAT scan. And as the door slams behind her and disappears, she doesn’t even care if she’s elbow deep in magic or hallucinating inside furniture. It sucks either way.

Fortunately she meets Robin, who knows all about magical keys and wants the one Emma used to reach his world. He’s even willing to help her in exchange for it. But with keys scattered across unknown worlds, finding one that gets Emma home is easier said than done. 

And so they begin to beg, borrow, or steal the keys that allow them to move between worlds, encountering everything from a frustratingly vague fairy insisting they need the diamond tears to a firebird obsessed with Shakespeare. All with the goal of getting Emma back home. But after a while, she can't decide if she really wants to succeed.

First 250:

When my left temple slammed into the refrigerator door, I knew I’d have to get up extra early the next morning. It would take forever to do my makeup and hair so no one would see the damage. My vision blurred to a whitish haze for a couple of seconds, and I took that opportunity to go limp, dropping to the floor. Not because I needed to. No, I could take much more than that without going down. But because he lost interest when he thought I was out for the count.

“Emma?” my father muttered, nudging my side with the toe of his three hundred dollar shoe. I didn’t react in any way. He cursed under his breath, and I heard the sounds of his footsteps through the floorboards when he walked away. “Grace!” he shouted as he moved toward the back of the house. “Emma fell again and hit her head! She’s in the kitchen!”

I could hear the murmur of my mother’s voice, but couldn’t distinguish any words. I knew of the gist of her reply anyway. Oh, poor, clumsy Emma, always hurting herself. Of course I’ll go help her. Why don't you relax and have another glass of wine, dear? Even if that wasn’t what she said, it was close enough.

Thanks mom.

I heard the door to my father’s office slam, followed by my mother’s hurried steps. I waited long enough to make sure he didn’t change his mind and come back, and then picked myself up off the floor.


  1. I like this. I was drawn into the completely dysfunctional family situation immediately and the voice was deliciously biting. It's a bit on the short side, but I'd love to see it. Please send the complete manuscript and the full synopsis in word doc attachments to gpanettieri at talcottnotch dot net. Thanks and I look forward to seeing it!

  2. How old is your main character? Reading this, the concept sounds very middle grade to me, and the length would fit that as well.

  3. I found this pitch and opening really interesting. The first page was much different than I expected, but with great voice, and the query has some really neat dynamics. Please send the first 50 pages, attached as a Word document (.doc) to In the subject line, please include my name and Agent Invasion. I look forward to hearing from you!
    All my best,
    Taylor Martindale
    Full Circle Literary