Friday, September 6, 2013


Genre:  New Adult Literary Fiction

Word Count:  110,000

Pitch: An Algerian painter lures a 22-year-old art scholar to the Parisian catacombs, plunging him into a black market for ancient art, a haunting infatuation, and the schemes of a genteel megalomaniac.

Before the devil led him to the Aegean Sea, and long before the soaring visions of his old age, he fell in love with an artist by the Seine. On that evening she knelt at the western point of the Île de la Cité, touching a shaft of charcoal – dark as her complexion – to an easel. If the Parisian winter could take form as a woman, he’d found her there, nestled beneath the March wind that lifted her hair and brushed away the residue of her drawing. He was young then, Gerald Syzygy, an oversized coil of wanderlust and infatuation, studying abroad for his senior year; and he couldn’t look away from the artist as she recreated the Pont des Arts, its trelliswork and pedestrian kiosks, the streams of people mingling there.

When she shifted to her hip and dared him with her eyes, holy shit, he thought, and missed a note on his harmonica. The other buskers broke off laughing and covered for him.

He hardly knew them during those eight weeks but he often joined their circles at the Vert-Galant or by the steps of Sacré Coeur, adding his harmonica to their guitars, flutes, and concertinas, their woolen hats and frumpy clothes of that year, 1996. The best place of all, for him at least, was the muted still point on the rim of the island, where the air compressed their random melodies, never quite repeatable, but often with an idée fixe of Dylan tunes.


  1. I will play 'buy a house' on this one.

  2. $100 - a query & 1st 100 pages for this one.

  3. As you already know, this was one of my all time faves from the contest. Such exquisite prose. Love, love, love!

  4. Yes, beautifully written. Congratulations!

  5. When I was slush reading and I mentioned that I'd stumbled across a NA Literary Fiction entry I immediately got a gushing reply from an editor friend. I found the topic so intriguing - and Paris! It's some of those pitches that gives you a little shiver inside. Then there's the gorgeous writing. I can't even find the words.

    I think this could be so big and could be the story to quiet the critics who say the NA market is just YA erotica. (don't forget me when you're famous).

    1. Sharon, your enthusiasm, support, kind words, and the fact that you hosted me on your blog (!) . . . Wow! Made my day in two different timezones. : )

      Can't wait to hear more about that conference you mentioned, where you'll be speaking about networking & publishing. I hear you'll be talking about #PitchMadness, too! Will look for the details on Twitter.

      Thanks again!

  6. Yes, beautifully written. Congratulations!

  7. Oops, I have no idea how that happened! I went to refresh page hours later and it re-commented!

  8. I am so incredibly mad at Sharon for snagging this one! I remember it vividly while reading slush and was trying to send telepathic vibes to Brenda to get this one.

    You deserve ALL the requests! It's not even a genre I read, but I was hooked by the first line and the uniqueness of the premise.

    *shakes fist at Sharon* Curse you, Sharon! CURSE YOU. ;)

  9. Absolutely exquisite! And my favorite of the entire contest. So CAN'T wait to read it!!