Hello Ms. Snark:(snarl)
Thirteen-year-old Sophia is furious. Luke is only eight years old; he thinks everything's an adventure. And Josh, fifteen—who knows what Josh thinks? He doesn't say a word. (what is this--Facebook captions? Why is this here?)
With time and life racing at the speed of broadband, Carol Hanlin fears her children are growing up as strangers. In a desperate attempt to form a stronger family bond, she drags them from their comfortable Virginia suburb to a remote lodge in Alaska where they serve as winter caretakers. The family must adjust to life without electricity, telephone, running water, or neighbors. Squeezed into a two-room cabin, the kids sleep in modified closets, undertake home schooling, haul wood and water, witness nature and wildlife, and endure each other's constant presence. Through a unique shared experience, in a dramatic setting, the Hanlins discover one another. blah blah blah
(Title) is a middle grade ("whatever") (ok, thatISfunny--for those of you who don't know why, check the Crapometer FAQ) novel of 50,000 words, told through alternating perspectives of the three kids. This project earned a Letter of Merit from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Work-In-Progress grant program. (well I know SCBWI but what the heck is a letter of merit? Varsity author team?)
I spent ten winters caretaking for remote Alaskan lodges from Bristol Bay to the Arctic, where water came from springs and lakes, heat from wood and fuel oil, and light from propane lanterns. The neighbors were the moose, foxes, weasels, wolves, and gray jays.
My first book, an Alaska natural history puzzle/fact/joke book, was released in spring 2006 by (reputable publisher that Miss Snark likes a lot). I currently have three other books under contract: two activity books with movie tie-ins and a fiction picture book, due out in 2007 and 2008 from (other publishers also on Miss Snark's rolodex). So why are you talking to me-did you sell all that stuff without an agent?
Thank you for your time and attention. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Crapometer project. (we won't hold you to that if you change your mind)
Sophia didn’t want to sue her mother; she had no choice. She’d tried talking, arguing, wrangling, debating, begging, pleading, urging, entreating, imploring, beseeching, and reasoning, but her mother refused to listen. It was like talking to a parrot—no matter what Sophia said, her mother responded, "This is more important, bwAWK." But she’d listen to a judge: it's illegal to ruin your daughter's life! (sweet mother of dog, why the HELL isn't this leading your query)
Sophia wasn’t sure who was who in the courtroom. She recognized Clarice Langston, the social worker from Child Protective Services, but that was it. The guy up front was probably the bailiff, and the man and woman talking together might be lawyers, or maybe one was a recorder. It seemed like a lot of people to solve one stupid problem. A problem Sophia could have handled on her own if her mother had let her. A problem that her stupid mother made when she decided to move the whole stupid family 6,000 miles away, to some stupid lodge in wilderness Alaska, without electricity and running water, isolated from the world—and hospitals, stores, schools, and sane human beings. Sophia shouldn’t feel guilty: she was the victim! She took a deep breath and sat on her hands to keep them from shaking. How could her hands be so cold when the rest of her was sweating?
The judge came in from a side door. She wore a robe and everything, just like judges on TV. Everyone stood up. Sophia leaned against the table to keep her balance. Was she getting sick? She thought she might throw up, or pass out. It may not hurt her case to look pathetic, but she preferred to look responsible and mature. She was usually good at it.
The judge opened a file folder from the top of a stack and spoke. She might as well have been the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon for all Sophia understood—good morning...wah wah...preliminary child protective order...wah wah wah.
Sophia sat up straight, and concentrated on not breathing too loudly. She stole a look at her mother at the other table. Her jaw muscle pulsed in her cheek; she was nervous, too. Look what you made me do! Sophia wanted to shout. It's all your fault! She hated this. But she hated the idea of going to Alaska even more.
People said things. Then it was Sophia’s turn, the moment she’d been waiting and rehearsing for. She felt like a robot walking up to the stand, stiff, controlled by some outer mechanism.
"Sophia," said Judge Wolcott, leaning back in her chair. "Tell me why you're requesting foster placement." She looked at Sophia the way a sales clerk looks at her when she returns a pair of pants—patient, but suspicious and ticked. Where was the sympathy for a girl so completely mistreated? Wasn’t it her job to protect kids? To stand up for them when no one else listened?
yes yes yes Thank all dogs we ask for pages.
THIS is a voice I believe.
This is good. I'd read it. I'd be on the horn asking about your agent situation though before I invested much time beyond those first pages.