The Writer's Voice Contest Entry

I was lucky enough to be randomly selected as one of the entries for The Writer's Voice contest, so I’m interrupting my regular blogging schedule to add my entry. Thank you to Krista Van Dolzer, Brenda Drake, Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Elizabeth Briggs, and their assistants for hosting such a fun contest! Here’s my entry:
 
QUERY
 
Dear Writer's Voice Judges,
 
When sixteen-year-old Brea stumbles upon a body in the woods, she can’t wait to tell the entire school – heck, the entire town – about her gruesome discovery. This time she has proof to back up one of her stories, so they can’t dismiss it as her overactive imagination. One problem: when she leads the police back to the body, it’s gone.
 
Now Brea’s reputation is completely destroyed, and the police refuse to believe there’s a killer on the loose. That’s okay, she’s watched a few CSI episodes, she'll just solve the murder herself. Decked out in yellow kitchen gloves, she searches the woods and finds evidence implicating Ryker, a classmate fresh out of juvie. The bad news? He now seems to be stalking her. Brea needs a way to investigate him with witnesses present, so she schemes to get him on her team for the annual video scavenger hunt.
 
Soon Brea, Ryker, and three other friends are performing cringeworthy tasks like modeling lingerie and juggling hemorrhoid cream. Despite her mission to expose a murderer, Brea starts to enjoy herself. After all, who would have guessed Ryker would look so adorable in a negligee? But when Brea and a teammate are almost killed, she realizes the murderer is using the hunt as a pretext to take out the entire team. With no idea who to trust, Brea must look past her embellished view of reality to uncover the truth that will save them all. 
 
THE DRAMA QUEEN WHO CRIED WOLF is a 77,000-word young adult mystery with series potential. The twists and turns pay homage to early Christopher Pike, while Brea's witty narration would make her fast friends with Veronica Mars.
 
THE DRAMA QUEEN WHO CRIED WOLF won the SCBWI 2013 Work-in-Progress Grant for Contemporary Novel for Young People. I am also one of the winners of the 2009 Highlights Fiction Contest and a 2008 South Carolina Fiction Project winner. Also, two of my screenplays won generous grants to produce them into award-winning short films. I’m also the Interview Coordinator for Adventures in YA Publishing, which has been a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past three years.
 
Thank you for your time,
Jocelyn Rish
 
 
FIRST 250
 
A white towel was a terrible outfit for trying to outrun a homicidal maniac. Although I had to admit, the woman racing through the dark forest made it look easy.
 
Until she tripped and crashed to the ground.
 
I leaned forward on the couch. “Get up! Get up!”
 
Instead of scrambling to her feet, she cowered in the leaves.
 
“Come on.” My fingers dug into the worn leather cushion. “At least grab a tree branch to defend yourself.”
 
But she only whimpered, “No, please, no,” while the killer stood over her adjusting his grip on the machete. Like begging was going to change his mind.
 
His blade whistled through the air. Thwack! Blood spurted. I grimaced and flopped back against my favorite seat in the house.
 
Something cold and wet touched my hand.
 
I yelped before my brain remembered the psycho couldn’t crawl through the TV screen to attack me. I glared at Maximus, my seventy-pound Frankenstein mutt taking up more than his fair share of the couch. “Holy crap, Max, are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
 
He chuffed in a way that sounded suspiciously like a yes and nosed my hand again.
 
“Really? You have to go out just when the movie’s getting exciting?”
 
Max blinked like he’d never do something so obnoxious. Then he barked at me.
 
I sighed, but before I could push myself off the couch, Max’s giant German Shepherd ears swiveled toward a sound that sent my heart into Riverdance mode: footsteps on the stairs.