Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Writer's Voice Blogfest - Montana Gold

Note to our regular readers: I'm participating in The Writer's Voice Blogfest today with a pitch for my latest manuscript. We'll be back to regular blog content tomorrow!

For perpetual slacker Simon, graduating from high school just means his parents are going to make his life a living hell until he manages to get into a good college. When he finds a map his miner ancestor left to a hidden cache of gold, he figures getting out of dodge—and adding a little adventure to his monotonous life—might be a good idea. He hops a plane to the wilds of Montana, but it doesn’t take him long to realize he’s completely in over his head.

Savvy local Maggie takes pity on the city boy, but she has a secret past and a hidden agenda of her own. Finding the gold is her last chance to keep everything she loves, and she doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process.

As Simon and Maggie follow the clues left by his ancestor, what started out as a fun adventure quickly turns serious when they're stranded in the woods and word of the clues gets around to the wrong people. Simon and Maggie must outsmart a crazed mountain man, drug smugglers, and the wilderness itself to get to the gold first and get out of there alive. And when Simon starts falling for Maggie—not to mention Montana—he begins to think life after high school might not be so predictable after all.

MONTANA GOLD is a YA adventure/romance in the vein of a genderswapped Romancing the Stone. It's complete at 85,000 words. I make my living as a freelance copywriter and am a member of SCBWI.

First 250 Words
The day Simon found the first clue to his great-great-great-great uncle’s gold started out pretty crappy. In the morning, he graduated from high school. A class of three thousand, seven hundred forty-one pretty much guaranteed a comatose audience by the time they got to Wexler, Simon. After the ceremony, he stood on the lawn in front of the school with his mom, dad, and brother David like the other graduates and tried to pretend he wasn’t bored out of his mind.

Afterward, instead of giving Simon a break, maybe a little time to shower off the rented gown stink or chill at his computer, his parents had planned a graduation party. Simon's former classmates must have been more impressed by his Dartmouth-professor parents than he was, because there were over a hundred people at their house by four-thirty.

He escaped to the backyard after an hour and was sitting on the edge of the pool with his dress pants rolled up, shoes off, and feet in the water when his best friend Matt found him.

"This party blows chunks," Matt said, kicking off his shoes and flopping down beside Simon.

"I had nothing to do with it," Simon said. "I take no responsibility for its vomit-inducing properties."

"MageWars later?"

"Definitely." A few hours of the best online game in the universe would go a long way toward erasing the suck of the day.

The porch door whacked open behind them.


  1. Old stomping grounds, gender swapped RTS (loved the movie so much I named a shelf for it on GR)... More of this story, please! Good Luck!

  2. Sounds like a really interesting plot with some serious adventures in store for the MC! Best of luck!

  3. Great premise and intriguing query! Best of luck!

  4. I love a romantic adventure! Good luck in the contest!

  5. Looks fun and love the comps. Good luck!

  6. Love the setting for this! I love a good adventure story.

  7. I love adventure stores and especially love Romance in the Stone so this would definitely catch my attention on the shelves. Also saying hello as your neighbor #139! @kimcjohnson

  8. I love a good adventure and Simon drew me into his live right away. Good luck!

  9. A lovely combination of adventure and romance. Great fun!

  10. I want you! There is a serious dearth of YA adventure in the market, so I already think you’re sitting on a metaphorical gold mine (ha!). Also, MONTANA GOLD sounds like just the sort of book that I’d devour in one sitting. You’ve given us a credible setup (and a treasure hunt!), and I can’t wait to see how Simon and Maggie’s relationship develops. I love the idea of a gender-swapped Romancing the Stone (which, for the record, is a movie my husband introduced me to).

    I think there are a few details we could sneak into your query (like how Simon has the means and the opportunity to hop on a cross-country flight without his parents coming after him), but on the whole, I think the query is already quite strong. The voice in the first page is also strong, but it might be worth seeing if we can streamline the opening paragraphs and/or condense the beginning of Matt and Simon’s conversation. They don’t really say or do anything to distinguish themselves from the host of teenage boys out there, and I think the first page would be even stronger if Simon's character came through more clearly.

    I really want you and your YA adventure on my team, so please, please, please pick me! Once I post these comments, I have to step away from my computer for a few hours to get my kids ready for school, so if the other coaches try to swoop in here and steal you (and I won’t be at all surprised if they do), please give me some time to offer a rebuttal before you make a decision.

  11. I love this idea too. Romancing the Stone is such a great movie. And congrats. I love reading Krista Van Dolzer's writing.