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(2015) #pg70pit Adult Winners

Thanks for visiting our Adult winners! These seven picks are just half of the top-rated entries judged by voice. We looked for thoughtful word choice, appropriate rhythm, and evocative imagery. Don’t forget to see the next top 7 entries, featured on cohost Elizabeth’s blog!


Code Name: I’m the Best Mistake You’ll Ever Make

Your 70th Page (up to 259 words): The woman was waiting for him outside his tenement, hands folded primly over the handle of a lace parasol.

Anton stopped, shuffling his feet and glancing up beneath his eyelashes. “Sweet of you to check up on me.”

An indulgent smile tugged at her wine red lips. “You know you really oughtn’t walk around so late alone. Someone might get the wrong idea.”

Anton swallowed. He didn’t much mind other people’s ideas. It was his own that concerned him. “You said you had names. I want one.”

“I thought you might.” From the breast pocket of her greatcoat, she withdrew an envelope. “I’ll give you two, free of charge. They’re quite good at what they do.”

“I don’t want a sell-sword.”

“Smart boy. A poisoner would be more prudent.”

“No,” Anton said. “I want you to give me the name of the Phantom.”

“The Phantom,” she repeated, her face carefully blank.

“I know you know what I’m talking about.” The woman had eyes in every back alley from Copenhagen to Casablanca. Of course she knew of the Phantom.

“Perhaps I’ve heard the tales,” she said, twirling the parasol idly. “But what makes you think I have his name?”

“Her name,” Anton corrected. The deliberate error didn’t fool him. “You know it’s a she. And you know how to find her.”

The woman hesitated. “I can’t help you with this.”

“Can’t? Or won’t?”

Her dark-rimmed eyes narrowed. “Even if you do manage to track her down, what do you think you can offer her? She’s not for hire.”

Word Count: 135K

Genre: Fantasy

7-word description for your MC: Clever, secretive. Hiding unwanted magic, scrupulous streak.


Code Name: But Darling, Stay with Me

Your 70th Page (up to 259 words):

“You don’t look okay,” Rich said as he untied my wrists and ankles and pressed his dry hands against the friction burns. Thanks, Pastor Obvious. “What happened?”

I shrugged off his question and jerked away. I wasn’t in the mood to indulge him, and I really wasn’t in the mood to let him see me at my worst. I climbed off the bed and turned my back before pulling on my clothes.

“Where’s your mom?” he asked.

I whipped back ’round. I’d assumed she’d greeted Rich after he let himself in. It wasn’t like her to leave the house so early in the day, even if it was afternoon.

Somethin’ was off. I got this feeling, this deep ache in my gut that yelled worst-case scenarios at me. I zipped my pants and ran into the hall.

It didn’t take long to find her.

You can probably guess what we found. Mom was sprawled out on her bed with a kitchen knife near her right hand. The blood flowing out of her left arm had soaked into the sheets, creating a dark round stain underneath and around her. Her head was tilted to the side, her eyes closed. Strangely enough, she looked peaceful.

Rich didn’t seem all that surprised. I wasn’t, either.

I knew she wasn’t dead. I mean, I didn’t know for sure ’til I found her pulse. But I knew. If the pain had been rough enough to kill her, she would’ve looked angrier, more distraught.

Instead, her face proved she was pleased with herself.

Word Count: 58K

Genre: NA LGBT Contemporary

7-word description for your MC: Gay Appalachian undergrad escaping abuse, navigating love


Code Name: The Same Old Thing Since 1916

Your 70th Page (up to 259 words): Dana leaned out of the cockpit and shouted back, “Is that everyone?”

I should bloody well hope so. Aloud I said, “That’s it. Weigh anchor and get underway.”

She nodded and turned back to the helm.

“You can let go now,” I said to the diminutive woman clinging to my back.

Kaitlyn’s fingernails retracted from my neck as she lowered herself onto the slick metal deck. If the ringing in my ears were any indication, she had not enjoyed the ride. She slid past me and joined Matthew at the rear of the cockpit without another word.

“Another satisfied customer,” I muttered.

The boat juddered as the anchor finished retracting into the hull.

“How do you feel about a speedy exit?” Dana asked, already starting to accelerate. I could scarcely see the buildings on either side through the driving rain.

I glanced back toward the rear of the cockpit. Our Vietnamese passengers seemed fine; jovial, even. Matthew and Kaitlyn sat on the bunk behind them, eyes distant, towels draped around their shoulders. I should check in with them before we hit full throttle, make sure Kaitlyn was well enough for a bumpy ride.

Then I glanced down at the Doppler radar. Shite. That damned bridge had cost us too much time. Even at full power, we’d be lucky to escape before the full force of the typhoon returned. So much for trading speed for comfort.

“Patrick?” she asked again.

“Just get us back in one piece.”

Word Count: 85K

Genre: International Thriller

7-word description for your MC: Rescue specialist drawn into global antiquities trade


Code Name: And for one second, I understand

Your 70th Page (up to 259 words):

I know instantly something is wrong: my rooms are not empty.

“Show yourself!” I draw my sword.

A girl appears from the bedroom and curtsies timidly. There’s a blush on her dark cheeks.

I sheath my sword, not my expression. “Yes?”

“I…er…I…” She swallows, looking at the floor, hands tucked behind her back. “My name is Emily, my Lady. I am your maid.”

A maid? I have no need for one, especially a little mouse like her. I’m about to tell her so, but her expression stops me. It’s a perfect blend of hope and fear.

“Sorry, that wasn’t much of a welcome.” A job in the keep is probably something she can’t afford to lose. “It’s been a while since I had a maid.”

“I’ll be no trouble, my Lady.”

“Call me Lavie, or Miss Lavie if that’s too much,” I add, seeing the look her face. “You can start by making my bed; I shouldn’t sleep on the floor anymore.”

“Yes, my… I mean Miss.”

She disappears into the bedroom, then comes back. Her scuttling motions reinforce her mouse-like image.

“Miss?”

“Yes, Squeak?”

The girl blinks, as if trying to determine if she is being addressed. “I heard men talking…They said you were a knight and that you’d chopped off a man’s…” She swallows again and the next word comes out a whisper. “…Unmentionables.”

My reputation precedes me. “Maybe I have. Will that be a problem?”

“No, Miss,” she says more firmly. “In my opinion, there are a few men who could do with losing their unmentionables.”

Word Count: 103k

Genre: Fantasy (lgbt)

7-word description for your MC: War damaged hero struggles with peacetime identity


Code Name from Song Lyrics: There’ll Be Just One Survivor

Your 70th Page (up to 259 words):

Lacey was right. The gray line in his hair had grown to a quarter inch thickness overnight. It was a stunning streak, parting his red hair like a curtain.

Another dream, another stripe.

The terror of the night before came back to him with the force of an anvil. His hands shook, and he dropped to his knees as he smelled the stink of the creature and felt its bony lips on his. Three, he heard it whisper again in his mind.

Three years. If Alex was telling the truth, if the creature was real, he’d lost three years of his life already. A wave of nausea gripped him.

He stayed crouched, breathing deeply for several minutes, letting the fear work its way through. Finally, he pulled himself upright and took the phone out of his pocket. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he rested it on his leg, trying to steady his hands. Then he thumbed through until he found one of the emails Alex had sent him, one of the emails he’d ignored. He hit reply.

“Can we talk?” He typed. “About what you told me at the coffee shop?” Roth hesitated. Then he added, “I’ve been having nightmares. Call me.” He hit send.

Roth clenched the phone in one hand and gripped his leg with the other. It sounded crazy. It was crazy. But so was gaining streaks of gray overnight. He needed to talk to Alex. To learn the truth.

Word Count: 90K

Genre: Thriller

7-word description for your MC: Self-centered entrepreneur must grow heart or die


Code Name: Where is my mind?

Your 70th Page (up to 259 words):

I lifted the back of my shirt. “See? This is where I should have been stabbed. But…nothing. Not even a scratch.”

He dragged his fingertip across the line of my ribs, and it sparked against my skin like a striking match. My nervous thoughts vanished, kindling to his incendiary touch, and for an instant all I wanted was more of his skin on my own.

“Someone here wished you dead,” he said.

I fought off a shiver and turned to him. In the dream of this past life, Emily had always been a passive participant, but now the man who’d once been Emily had intent. He’d wanted to kill me. “Maybe he still does.”

“You needn’t be scared.” Roberts protected me since the second I’d arrived here, but this time his concern didn’t come from chivalry or duty. It was genuine and gentle, and sitting so close to him, breathing his comforting scent of the afternoon ocean and sharp tea leaves, I wanted to believe him.

“You try to hide behind all your bravado. But deep down you’re a big sweetie, aren’t you?”

He chuckled, and the tense lines of his face eased. “No wonder you continue to tell me to shut up, throw pillows at my face, and generally fail to defer to my imposing authority. Who would be afraid of a man such as you think of me?”

I jabbed him with my elbow. “So…five minutes is all you could muster, huh?”

“Six months at sea, Fox. Six months.”

Word Count: 103,000

Genre: Historical Fantasy

7-word description for your MC: accidental time traveler, searching for her sister


Code Name: Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme

Your 70th Page (up to 259 words):

I wet my lips. “How long have I been asleep?”

“Two nights and a day,” Heera said. “Jigar Khan brought you here that afternoon from khalajan’s rooms. He hasn’t left your bedside except to snatch a few hours’ sleep each night.”

“Oh?” I had a hard time matching the kind actions that she described to the eunuch.

“He regularly applied the salve the hakim gave him on your wounds. Thank Allah, your back won’t scar.”

God forbid my skin get puckered and ugly. Wouldn’t that disgust the Emperor! I shook my head. It wasn’t my friend’s fault that she thought this way. This was the only life she knew. “The khanum didn’t punish Aslam, did she?”

“He’s well,” she whispered and turned away.

I laid a hand on her shoulder. “What is it?”

She swallowed and wound her veil tightly around her shoulders. “It’s Chaman. The night she gave you a beating, khalajan had my pet goat added to the stew pot.”

Cold fingers clutched at my heart and squeezed until I couldn’t breathe. It was my fault. Rua Khanum had warned me that Heera was responsible for me. Poor Chaman, I’m so sorry!

“She had the stew served to the entire zenana. Then … then …” She trembled, tears coursing down her cheeks. “Khalajan made me eat each morsel she served me.”

My stomach heaved. I doubled over and vomited, the acrid aftertaste scorching my throat. “Forgive me, Heera, forgive me.”

I threw my arms around her, and the two of us huddled together, weeping.

Word Count: 95K

Genre: Historical Epic

7-word description for your MC: Hindu girl surviving in Muslim Emperor’s harem


>>Click here to see more Adult Entries

Click here to see MG Entries

Click here to see YA entries

Are you an agent who would like to request more from these writers? Comment below with the code names, how many pages you’d like to see, and your contact information. Alternatively, you may email veritylanelaraATgmailDOTcom with your requests.

Winning entrants, it’s your responsibility to vet agents and see if they would be a good fit for you.

Writers, go cheer each other on with the hashtag #pg70pit on Twitter!

9 thoughts on “(2015) #pg70pit Adult Winners

  1. Lydia says:

    I’d like to see more of ‘I’m the Best Mistake You’ll Ever Make’ and ‘And For One Second, I Understand’. Could you please send the query and first 50 pages (as a pdf) to lydia at therightsfactory dot com? Thanks!

  2. Kirsten Carleton says:

    Enjoyed “I’m the Best Mistake You’ll Ever Make” and “The Same Old Thing Since 1916,” and want to see more! Please send the query with the first fifty pages and a detailed synopsis (as attachments) to kirsten[at]waxmanleavell[dot]com. Looking forward to reading!

  3. Elizabeth Copps says:

    Requesting: 1st 50 pages of “Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme.” Please send a formal query + the first 50 pages to Elizabeth Copps at Maria Carvainis Agency (mca@mariacarvaisagency.com) attached in a Word doc. Subject line should have “pg70pit” somewhere in the title. Thanks!

  4. Lisa Jane Weller says:

    I love the sound of ‘I’m The Best Mistake You’ll Ever Make’ and ‘And For One Second, I Understand’. If the authors of these entries would be interested in querying me, I’d love to read more! Please feel free to send a query letter (including author bio) and the first 50 pages of your manuscript (attached as a Word/rtf file) to “submissions[at]broadlandliterary[dot]com”, with the subject line “Pg70pit Submission – Your Novel’s Title (Genre)”. Many thanks!

  5. Bree Ogden says:

    I’d like to see the query and full manuscript for “There’ll Be Just One Survivor”. Please send word document to Bree(at)RedSofaLiterary(dot)com with the hashtag in the subject line. Please cc Kim@(at)RedSofaLiterary(dot)com xoxo-Bree Ogden (Red Sofa Literary)

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