Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #31

Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy Adventure
Word Count: 48,047


Thirteen-year-old Jocelyn Hook is a disappointment. Her grandfather intends to see her pressed and starched into a well-mannered, fine society lady – but Jocelyn has other plans. Besides having a distinct aversion to starch, Jocelyn wields a sword better than an embroidery needle. She dreams of high-sea adventure, hoping to become every bit as daring a pirate as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. A forced admittance to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies insists that Jocelyn stuff those dreams into a lacy white handbag – complete with matching hankie.

When Jocelyn is sprung from school in order to hunt down the crocodile that killed her father, she finds more adventure than she ever imagined. As if trying to defeat Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, Jocelyn must captain a crew of untrained pirates, battle a not-quite ghostly ship, outwit cannibals that are wild for English cuisine, and tame the attentions of a love-sick fairy.

I am an active member of SCBWI and Willamette Writers.

First 250:

The week before Jocelyn's grandfather decided to send her away to finishing school was an eventful one, even by her generally chaotic standards.

On Monday, Jocelyn’s newest tutor found his pupil unable to do her history lesson. Someone had torn out most of the pages from her lesson book in order to make paper boats. This same unidentified person then floated the paper vessels on the garden pond, after lighting them on fire, of course. Jocelyn sat at her desk, wide eyes and innocent, with a spot of soot on her nose and the faint smell of smoke still clinging to her rumpled dress.

If you ask me, her tutor was wrong to turn in his resignation. True history is filled with burning fleets.

On Tuesday, Jocelyn startled the head cook, who rather foolishly did not expect the girl to come flying down the front banister brandishing a wooden sword and singing a bawdy sea chantey at the top of her lungs. A tea-tray of French pastries dropped on Sir Charles’s finest Persian rug was clearly no one’s fault but the cook’s own.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were much the same: Jocelyn tore her new silk stockings trying to climb the high iron fence surrounding Hopewell Manor to see out and “scout for enemy ships approaching." Her finest blue sash went missing, only to be discovered under the hedgerow, one end tied into a complicated sailor’s knot, the other, a noose. She scandalized the third-floor serving maids when she refused her evening bath by shouting, “Look out, ye dog-livered landlubbers! I’m the most feared girl-pirate to ever live! I’ll see you keelhauled before you get me to walk the plank!”


  1. Fun premise. I'd love to see more. Could you send the query and first few chapters (in the body of the email) to JennL at

    Subject line CAGI Query

  2. Would love to see six chapters as an attachment and

    1. Uhm, thanks Google but I wasn't done typing. And a full synopsis to pam.vhv@gmail.

  3. I'd love to see 30 pages! I'm such a sucker for fairy tale retellings. Please send as a .doc to natalie @