The Writer’s Voice Entry – Phreak Show


I feel like I’m on The Price is Right. Or something. My entry Plinko’ed through the pegs and channels of Rafflecopter to land a spot in The Writer’s Voice.

Get the skinny here, or here , also here, and let’s not forget here. Mucho appreciation to the lovely ladies throwing this shindig. Barker’s Beauties, or Drew’s Dolls, or Voicy Vixens we might could call ’em: CupidBrendaMonica , Krista, and Kimberly.

There are some wicked-great agents participating, and I’ve got to say, Phreak Show is bouncing up and down with anticipation for the Showcase Showdown. Come on Coaches! Pick this here entry to be one of your 8…errr 9? You know, whatever number, without going over.


When Tera sees through the 600 pounds of fat smothering Twiggy the Blubber Girl, and finds a hurting, size 16 girl beneath, she knows something’s crazy-twisted with The Last American Phreak Show. The wicked Phineas is enslaving teens by wielding their warped self-images against them. Sixteen-year-old Tera has enough crap of her own to deal with, but there’s no effin way she’s letting the jackhole Phineas exploit them in his human zoo.

Tera sacrifices her own questionable normality, and becomes one of Phineas’s sideshow phreaks. Once bound by Phineas’s covenant, Tera discovers that she is more like the powerful showmaster than she’d like to believe, and her presence in the Phreak Show is killing him. If Phineas dies before the captive teens discover a way to break free, they will die with him.

The carnies only have a few days to confront the lifetime of lies lurking within their own hearts. And it will require more than Victorian costumes, sideshow tricks, and creepy performances to save them. The dark magic which binds the teens runs soul-deep. Being a phreak isn’t about looks; it’s a frame of mind

Phreak Show, a YA Greenpunk Fantasy where The Night Circus meets Skinny, is complete at 86,000 words.

With published short stories, articles, poetry, and illustrations, Phreak Show is my third novel. When not writing, I’m an artist who works with reclaimed materials, a spreadsheet junkie, and phreak who has learned to be comfortable in his own skin.


The neon-red TATTOO sign buzzed with the only spark of excitement in Podunk. Or whatever clone of a town I rolled into that day. Slow and gray like all the rest. Railroad tracks stretched down one side of the street while a storefront church and a sorry excuse for a coffee shop sat on the other. A mom wrangled her toddler into a rusty pickup parked against the curb. Old men perched on a bench outside a hardware store, ogling me, some strange teenage girl, invading their land.

At least this Podunk had a tattoo shop. The first I’d seen in two days. Enough stalling. I needed to get it done while I had the chance, before I lost the nerve again, before my money ran out.

A bell jangled as I pushed my way into the antiseptic air. Drawings of hearts and butterflies, daggers and skulls, covered the walls. I slid my fingers into my back pocket and fished out my last eighty-three bucks. And the photo of Jamie. The white crease down its center cut right along the middle of his tiny body. A tangle of tubes and wires snaked in and out of him. All because of me.

“What you need?”

I jerked away from the image in my hand, and followed the voice to the pierced lip of an inked-up guy. Scruffy hint of a beard, jet-black hair, and nerd glasses reflecting the light so I couldn’t see his eyes. I stepped closer, checking out his skinny jeans through the display case of tongue rings and metal bars.

Of course, I had to check out The Price is Right and find out how to get tickets. Not because I’m really going, but just because, you know, curious:

81 thoughts on “The Writer’s Voice Entry – Phreak Show

  1. This contest is all about voice and I think this entry has it. I love stories about the circus so this one is right up my alley. Awesome concept!

    Good luck!


  2. OK. I’m hooked. I want to know who she is, who Jamie is, does she get the tattoo, where is she? You did a great job with the setting too.


  3. Yes. This. (I am thoroughly intrigued). Also …

    q: What is a word that describes someone of many talents or gifts?
    a: I hear it’s something called “Tabitha” …. or so somebody I know says…


  4. Gutsy, impassioned, and v unique. I get a little Whedonesque season 3 Buffy flavor from this in the best possible way… Good luck!


  5. I have not heard the term greenpunk until now; hopefully agents will be intrigued (rather than confused!). I was sold on the unique premise, so best of luck to you for tyring something original.


  6. Love the first 250–super nice telling details. The photo of the tiny body with the tubes sticking out has me utterly hooked. Reminds me a bit of Geek Love, which is one of my favorite novels of all time. Do you know it? Also reminds me of Something Wicked This Way Comes. Good luck to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • I have read snippets of Geek Love, and totally re-read SWTWC during the research stage–to make sure I steered clear of any outright references. That book and movie are burned in my brain from childhood. In a good way.


    • I shall gladly accept all 3 of those adjectives. And, you’re right. The Bible is the world’s #1 bestseller, and, well, not everyone’s jam. 😉 It takes all kinds of voices and books to stroke the feathers of the amazing diversity we homo sapiens have going on.


  7. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a first 250 words that grabbed me by the eyeballs like your have. And now my eyeballs hurt, damn it, and they want MORE. More, I say!

    I’ll be in the corner sulking until this is published, thank you very much.


  8. This sounds – gah, I don’t even have words! Everything falls short. Excellent query that reeled me right in and that 250 did not feel like enough!! Best of luck!


    • Glad it left you panting/drooling/itching for more. Or, you know, just kinda wanting additional words. 😉 It’s so amazing to have so many folks commenting.

      Huzzah for the amazingness that is the writing community!


  9. Your query is extremely solid. I absolutely adore what this book is saying – because from reading the query, the message this book is going to send to anyone who reads it is confronting who you REALLY are and being comfortable with yourself – no matter what you look like (or think you do). Stories like this need to be published, there are way too many people with warped self-image and who are so uncomfortable with themselves that it breaks my heart a little bit. The fact that this going to be presented the way it is….maybe the message will sink in. (BTW, I am not trying to say I think your book will be preachy at all, from the query and first 250 I definitely wouldn’t say that, I just think it is incredibly relevant and the issues being dealt with within the story are truly universal…and I can’t help but hope that if people read this it will get into their subconscious minds! :))


    • Wow. Have you secretly read it already??? lol Super astute and, yes, spot-on with the “theme”. I really appreciate that you took the time to leave such an indepth comment. Preachy is not my thing, but encapsulating a relevant message within a [hopefully] weird & unique story? Yeah. That’s Lucas. 😉


  10. Was out at with some friends when your comment came through on my blog. Decided to check out yours. Love, love, love the Phreak Show query and submission. When a good story can take me away from 4 good friends and margaritas, you know it’s worth it. Best of luck!


  11. Strong voice, vivid descriptions really put me there, the picture of the future tatoo really surprised me and made me want to know more. Definitely a fabulous first 250 that made me want to read the whole thing!


  12. Goodness this is great! So engaging. My fave line in the query was: there’s no effin way she’s letting the jackhole Phineas exploit them in his human zoo.— just dripping with voice. Good luck!


    • I’m super-honored that you stopped by, Triona. And to think–late night at an SCBWI conference, you listened to my rambling thoughts for what now is an actual novel. Well, manuscript…at least for a short while longer. 😉


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