Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Entry 7

Genre: YA Horror

Title: Nightmares

Word Count: 63,000

Song: “Welcome To My Nightmare” by Alice Cooper


Nightmares should remain in dreamland. Unfortunately Tommy’s didn’t get the memo, and stepped out, seeking retribution. A week ago, the monster had been a man, with a family. Until Tommy’s dream changed all that.



I tried to not be seduced by the rush of cars and trucks buzzing beneath me.


The wind off the lake toyed with my bangs, blowing them to the left, then right into my eyes at inopportune times.


Damn it! I can’t miss. Not when it’s for real. Not when it’s me.


I looked at my watch. I had a minute. Maybe.


Practice makes perfect. Or petrified.

I tried to block out the wind, the noise, the lights, the fear. I was going to be OK. I’d gone over every phase of my “stupidcide” mission about a bazillion times. So I’ll be fine, just as long as Galileo was right, and I fall at the same speed as the pennies I’ve been dropping. I sure as hell didn’t want to arrive early. Or late.


The engine brake broke my concentration. I grabbed my binoculars. Peering into the headlamp swirl, I could just make out a big thing on the highway bend about a mile away. It sure looked like flatbed trailer truck stacked high with bundles of laundry bound for the Institute. I could hardly afford to be wrong. I looked again, and checked my watch. No, no doubt about it. This was it. 12:04 a.m., right on the dot. Four minutes past twelve it was supposed to be, and four minutes past twelve it was.

There, speeding along at 65 miles per hour, was my ride.

Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Entry 8

Genre: NA Sci Fi Fantasy


Word Count: 68,000

Song: Keep Away by Godsmack


Nineteen year-old Coree survives the alien purge. Now she needs to remember what the hell they did to her and why, before everyone she loves dies. The magic — bonus. Strange tattoos – just plain cool.


Damn it! I was late for class.

My calculus teacher hated when people weren’t on time. And if anyone dared enter after the door closed, well, they just asked to be mocked.

I sighed, grabbed my backpack and ran out the door.

When I reached the central quad, my steps echoed. Huh. No one around. Usually, the courtyard was always busy, no matter the time of day. Unease skittered through me on soft paws, tightening my stomach.

Then I heard it. Screams—men and women—coming from Main Street. I broke into a run and darted between the buildings.

Cars littered the intersection. It looked like someone rear-ended someone else, causing a chain reaction down the road. A car horn blared nearby and a faint breeze blew the smell of gasoline, smoke, and copper my way. People stood in clusters among the wreckage.

In the closest group, a small guy around my own age, nineteen, twenty maybe, fought a big bear of a dude, looked like a trucker. The small guy wore a ton of bling, pants hanging low and quite frankly, he was getting his ass whooped. The trucker hammered a punch to his temple, knocked him out cold. One hit. Bam.

Holy Crap. I gasped and covered my mouth.

The trucker stared at me with vacant eyes. He panted and cracked his knuckles.

“Guy stepped up on me,” he said and staggered back to his car.

Everywhere I looked, there was more of the same.

Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Entry 9

Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy

Title: Lucid Dreaming

Word Count: 72,000

Song: The orchestral version of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica


When Melaina banishes a nightmare spirit from a client, she draws the murderous ire of the nightmares’ master. Hiding inside human minds, he could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend.


“So, um, I’ve never done this before. Visit someone like you, I mean.” The man swallowed hard, Adam’s apple bobbing.

Way to make me sound like a prostitute, pal. But his reaction was hardly unique. I extended a hand. His palm was sweaty despite the cold outside, his handshake weak. Ew. “I’m Melaina. Why don’t you take a seat, Mr Heaney?”

“Sure. Okay. Call me Larry.” He struggled out of his jacket and hung it on my hatstand, which wobbled. One of these days it was going to collapse in a pile of cheap timber and overcoats, but apparently not today.

I flashed my dimples at him as we sat on my battered armchairs, each of them wearing a throw rug like a shawl to hide the bare patches on their shoulders and arms. The chairs were at right angles with a corner table between them. Nice and cosy. Larry didn’t relax, though.

“Why don’t you tell me why you’re here?” I said.

“My Aunt Mim organised it. I think she knows the lady out the front.” He waved toward the door he’d come through, which led to the storefront of Serenity’s New Age Gifts. I rented the room in back. “She’s a bit batty to be honest, but her heart’s in the right place.”

I assumed he meant his aunt, not Serenity. Although the description fit either way. I nodded for him to continue.

He spoke in a rush, as though that would make it less embarrassing.

Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Entry 10

Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense


Word Count: 83,000

Song: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police


Kate finally finds a man she can trust just as someone evil finds her. Kate’s unaware she’s the subject of a sick wager that will test her trust, and may wind up costing her life.

First 250:

Kate weaved through the crowded bar, ducking between tables to avoid servers loaded down with trays of sloshing beer. The bass thumped in her head and chest, matching her quick pulse. She paused halfway to the raised platform where the band was finishing a song. If she couldn’t get the singer’s attention, she’d look like an idiot. Or worse, he could ignore her.  At least it was dark, which would hide her reddening face.

She needed to get a grip. It’s not like the guy was Bon Jovi, though he might think so the way he swaggered around the small stage. She took a deep breath and pushed through the crowd to get closer.

The lanky lead singer, who’d be challenged to find enough flesh left to poke another piercing through, paused between songs for a drink. When he leaned down to put his cup back, she stood on her tiptoes and waved to get his attention.

He cocked his head and bent over his guitar.

“Do you guys take requests?” Kate yelled over the buzz of the amplifier.

“Depends what it is.” He hitched an eyebrow and leaned a little closer.

Oh, God. She hadn’t seen that coming. Her face grew warm. “Can you play a song for my friend, Meghan? It’s her birthday.”

“Sure. What song?”

She told him, and he nodded in an  I’m-so-cool way and smiled.

“You got it.” His fingers fiddled with the strings of the guitar as his eyes traveled up and down her body.

Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Talent Scout Save!

Title: Ice Queen

Word Count: 65,000

Song: Human by Christina Perri


The Angel Experiment meets The Snow Queen when sixteen-year-old Arianna Lewis falls for her hottie new neighbor. If she can’t figure out how to control her ice juice, it’s bye-bye sleepy beach town…hello frozen wasteland.


For the love of all things not genetically modified, please let me get to the bus without a Jeremy Watters run-in.

Racing though the empty gym, I slam my backpack into the double doors as the final bell rings. Almost there—

“Hey Ice Queen, I’ve got something to thaw you off.”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

I stop short of slamming into his overly inflated chest. My fingertips tingle as the sneer spreads across his face.  I dig my nails into my palms to avoid another accident. Two in one day is too risky.

Jeremy casually folds his pumped biceps across his chest, flipping that damn toothpick between his teeth. If only he’d choke on it. Sucking in a calming breath, I choke on the musky air burning the back of my throat.

“Geeze, didn’t anyone ever teach you how to spray cologne?” I let out a gagged cough and hold up a finger, “One squirt. That crap isn’t air-freshener. People need to breathe.”

“Come on Ice Queen, it’s no secret you can’t resist the love potion. Your temperature’s rising just thinking about it.”

Somehow he drags the word love into five syllables as he grabs his crotch and licks his lips prompting me to dry heave. Hard to believe a year ago he used to sneak in my window at night to avoid his parents’ knockdown arguments.

“Oh Jeremy, your tiny package couldn’t thaw out a popsicle.”

“Dude, she burned you,” one of his cronies shouts.

This is so not going to end well.

I chose to save Ice Queen because the character’s voice stood out above all the entries. It captured my attention and had me wanting to read more. Saved! @agirlnamednat, Team Stray Tats Talent Scout

Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Rebel Roadie

Genre: Adult Fantasy


Word Count: 123,000

Song: “Kingdom Come” by the Civil Wars


Alea is reeling from her family’s massacre. There is no time to grieve: she must accept that she is not human before the gods destroy the only person she has left.

First 250 words:

If Elle’s kind prayed, she would beg to lose the child. She covered her stomach and hurried to the humans’ temple district, grateful she was only a dozen weeks along. The port-city’s streets were packed, but she wound her way carefully to the plain, squat temple. In a city built for worship, hiding an old temple was easy. Elle ducked through the low doorway into cool darkness. She closed her eyes briefly, drawing calm from the crisp air. Here she did not have to hide.

The Faer could never have been called humble, but they had been forced into discretion. The small room beyond the foyer was discrete as could be managed.The tale of the Faer’s downfall at the hand of their creations, the gods, differed between human cities, with varying truth. They had become ghost stories in all but the most devout. The temple held half a dozen Faer studying or meditating. She found the oldest Faer and knelt before her, waiting until the woman opened her eyes to speak.

“Jeniah, I seek guidance.”

“What troubles you?” The Faer could feel disruption and change the way a sailor could sense a storm, and it was their intuition that guided many decisions.

“My place in Mirik’s palace is tenuous. I fear they will discover my true nature.”Jeniah fixed Elle with a sharp gaze, the silver in her eyes flashing. “May I?” She reached out a hand. Grey fog eased from Jeniah’s palm. It prodded Elle before withdrawing.

Pitch Slam Battle Royale

Team Stray Tats Poster

The Pitch Slam Managers & Talent Scouts scoured the globe, seeking the next big thing.
Our search took us to karaoke bars, church socials, and, yes,  even (pay-by-the-hour) motels in Vegas.

Because committed.

ALL THIS, so each team could assemble a rockin’ 10 11 12 member band.
These 5 bands are now ready to battle in front of the Executives. Details here.

#TeamStrayTats’ picks (the rockingest in the bunch) include:

– Our Top 10 – Chosen for their kickin’ voices, marketability, and undeniable cat-class swagger
– Talent Scout Save – Chosen by @agirlnamednat to rescue this entry from being shoved backstage
– Rebel Roadie – This is a Rock & Roll  themed contest, right? What’s R&R without a little rebellion? So why not pick an entry we might otherwise rule out due to content, length, from a “saturated genre”, etc etc?

We’re kinda partial to our very own Stray Tats, but…if you want to check out those other bands‘ picks:


Good luck #TeamStrayTats!

[And yes, of course, band members on those other teams, too.]


Comments are open to Agents-posing-as-Executives ONLY.
They will remain hidden until 5pm Eastern (for Team Stray Tats).

[If you’re a secret Executive looking to snatch up a band member, let me know on Twitter: @LucasMight]

All others: Feel free to share your groupie love and appreciation via the #PitchSlam hashtag.

You found the Stray Tats ~easter egg~ Shhhh…secret, rebellious stuff. If we had 3 more picks, you would have been the ones: Grit of Berth and Stone, Blackball, Enchanted Goddesses. So close! And not just those three, but ALL OF YOU, keep at it. Don’t give up. If writing is in you, you’ll keep honing your craft, hammering out words, editing the hell out of them, taking risks. You’ll make it.