|LORD OF THE DANCE|
|Ninja Kristin||Ninja Jason|
|PURPLE SHADOWS||FREE AGENT|
|Contemporary Suspense||Urban Fantasy|
NAME: Usman T. Malik
TITLE: Lord of the Dance
GENRE: Contemporary Thriller
WORD COUNT: 110k
PITCH: When Dara, an immigrant Pakistani symbologist, receives a mysterious call from his estranged cousin, he's brought into a world of superstition and chaos he thought he left behind. Now, to save a possessed teenage girl, he must solve the cryptic symbols written in her blood, while facing his past and the family he abandoned.
What is it about a dying girl that calls to you, no matter who you are?
Dara wet his lips. He stood motionless, head cocked, watching the snowflakes tumble and swirl outside his apartment window, following the flicker of their pale shadows with narrowed eyes.
Ghost shadows. Restless shadows.
“Will you at least take a look at the symbols?” she said.
Zareen Apee fell silent.
Dara’s ear ached. He shifted the cellphone to the other side and, when the hot metal touched his flesh, he grimaced. “How’d you find me?”
“I didn’t,” Apee said.
“I don’t understand.”
“The campus newsletter. That review article had your picture at the top. You literally showed up on my desk.” She paused. “I won’t lie, it gave me a nasty jolt at first, but I took it like a champ.”
That article. That damn article.
Dara gritted his teeth and said nothing.
Minnesotan winter groaned and thumped against the window, and a gust of wind drove the snowflakes mad, flurrying them around the glass in a dervish dance.
“A kid, Dara. A seventeen-year-old kid,” his cousin was saying. “An American girl found sick in northern Pakistan and brought here. She’s sick. Really sick. Dying slowly but surely. Don’t know why I didn’t think of you before. Maybe we were too stuck on the pathological stuff more than the--”
Dara hung up.
NAME: Kristin Kisska Mehigan
TITLE: Purple Shadows
GENRE: Contemporary Suspense
WORD COUNT: 98k
PITCH: When UVa student Megyn Quill discovers she’s a pawn in Thomas Jefferson’s scandal—alleging he fathered his slave’s children—only the secret society, Purple Shadows, can help her unravel the truth, before history is rewritten.
The December draft chased her up the concrete stairwell as she fiddled with the damned key. Already wanting to pull her hair out, Megyn couldn’t take one more setback. A last jiggle and the lock to her dorm room clicked open. She dumped her backpack on the desk.
Diving onto her bed, she screamed “He’s a freaking slave driver!”
“Bad day, Megs?” Alison, her roommate, walked out of their shared bathroom brushing her teeth and took in the scene with a quizzical smirk.
Megyn looked up, embarrassed to find she wasn’t alone. Though she struggled to contain her emotions, a renegade tear paved a hot trail down her cheek. “Sorry you saw that, Al.” She wiped the tear away with the back of her hand. “Someone in the history department has a sadistic sense of humor. Not only was I reassigned to the visiting professor, but I can’t even score a meeting with Van Balen! He pawned me off on his TA-groupie, James.”
“Not James Stavros!” Alison shuddered. “There’s something warped about that guy.”
Megyn clutched her pillow to her chest. “Apparently, Mr. High and Mighty reviewed my thesis and said it was worthless. I’ve been working my ass off on it for two years! New hot-shot professor rips it apart and can’t even tell me to my face. I don’t get it! How could any thesis based on Thomas Jefferson be irrelevant?” Megyn broke into sobs. “I’m screwed! What the hell does Van Balen expect me to do?”
NAME: Jason Nelson
TITLE: Free Agent
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 89k
PITCH: Marissa Locks’ contract with the Fairy Godfather saved her sister’s life, but left Marissa his unwilling agent. Now, trapped between warring fairies, she’ll fight for a happily ever after of her own.
The New Year’s Eve Countdown told me I had five minutes until the ball drop. That gave me six minutes until somebody got killed. I spotted the shoplifter in line at the theater, and worked my way across the street, through the teeming crowd. She had no idea what she was wearing, which made her both stupid and dangerous. Stupid was dangerous enough by itself.
“Marissa, I might remind you of the time,” said a man’s voice. came right out of the store window beside me, the dry voice with its not quite English accent. He watched me with critical eyes.
“I got it, Grimm.” I walked along the theater line, head down.
His image followed me, reflecting from the windows and even the brass banister knobs that held the velvet rope. “I’ll believe that when you actually do.”
Call it women’s intuition, or maybe the slippers tipped her off, but she turned and looked right at me. Our eyes met, and she knew why I was there, if not who I was. As the crowd surged forward, she ducked into the theater, disappearing into the throng.
“God Damsel-it.” I spat out the faint taste of soap. “Doesn’t count, not a real curse.”
“Watch your language, young lady. Only proper women live happily ever after. Now, go get those slippers back.” Grimm appeared in the ticket window, beckoning me on.
If I had enough Glitter to buy a happily ever after, I wouldn’t have spent all day chasing a thief.