Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Face-Lift Awards

The votes are in, and here are the results:

4th Place
Spats, Traps, and Possum Fur Hats

3rd Place

2nd Place
Hybreed Rising

1st Place
Don't Forget the Death Ray

Click the label below to see the results from previous years.

2009 Cartoon Caption Awards

I gotta start doing cartoon awards quarterly. There were dozens of great ones. The field was narrowed, the minions voted, and here are the results:

5th Place
Caption: Mother (Re)produces

4th Place
Caption: Whirlochre

3rd Place
Caption: Anon.

2nd Place
Caption: Stacy/Anon.

1st Place
Caption: Anon.

Anonymice: If you want credit for your captions, let me know.

To view previous cartoon awards, click the label below.

2009 Guess the Plot Awards

It would be too much work to choose the best individual Guess the Plots, so we honor the best complete sets.

3rd Place

The Lesser Species

1. Cows have had enough. It's time to knock humans to the bottom of the food chain.

2. Aliens land on earth and refuse to communicate with humans. Strange gases start coming out of their ships, killing any human who comes near them. One scientist realizes the chemicals in the gas are pesticides, and the aliens are carrying tanks full of the stuff to rid the Earth of . . . The Lesser Species.

3. A man is abducted from Earth by the Galactic Council and put into a zoo with other lesser species. He escapes and rigs the next election so that he becomes Galactic President. But once in power he realizes he'd just as soon have a plate of nachos.

4. Dogs vs. Cats. The final war that will end the debate once and for all.

5. Christof flexed his legs. It was time for the revolution. His army's carapaces gleamed. He was proud of them. So began his war against the lesser species. One day the Earth would again belong to Christof, king of the cockroaches.

6. Biologist Harold Carter is obsessed with the reproduction of the monotremes. He's spent decades in Australia, studying. Meanwhile his wife and children grow increasingly distant. Will he return to soul-crushing suburbia, or stay in Australia with his beloved platypi?

2nd Place


1. One man's struggle with Narcolepsy, and the challenge of staying awake long enough to finish a book about it.

2. Tired of being called a heartless bastard, a teenager leaves the Earth and crosses the galaxy accompanied by her spineless navigator Nigel, A.K.A. . . . N.

3. The letter pinned to the starlet's bikini said only "N." For Zack Martinez, homicide detective, this meant one thing: those first thirteen murders were related.

4. With a brutal serial killer holding him hostage and his life depending on a game, it's not the best time for Mason to discover he lost some of the Scrabble tiles.

5. Zorro II sets off on an epic journey to find an optometrist who's not afraid of a man with a sword. Turns out she's hot, too.

6. Q has gone missing and N is running the show with agents Orange and 013. Can they foil a plot to assassinate the PM?

1st Place

Don't Forget the Death Ray

1. A team of astronauts arrive in a new world, only to discover the atmosphere is full of poppy-gas that adversely affects their cognition and makes them vulnerable to kidnap by flying monkeys, green women, and singing midgets.

2. The ultimate reference work on how to write comic books. Includes invaluable advice like: Don't put an alien's third eye on the back of his head; Never make a spandex costume pink; and of course . . . Don't Forget the Death Ray.

3. All mad scientist Lysander Schultz wants to do is take over one, maybe two continents so his mother will finally stop complaining he's never accomplished anything. But then Mama Schultz gets wind of the plot and decides her baby boy can't possibly do it without her assistance.

4. What happens to megalomaniacal arch-villains whose powers fade as they enter their golden years and find they can no longer remember exactly what they were going to do with the world once they dominated it? This is the story of a most unusual assisted-care facility where, more often than not, weapons of mass destruction are found in the refrigerator rather than in that tray on the dresser where they belong.

5. Ironic hipster Lance McAllister's blog, "Don't Forget The Death-Ray," is a send-up of science fiction cliches and alien abductions. It's all fun and games--until the Reticulons show up and the anal probes start.

6. Zorpha Qv'naul has had to deal with one too many creeps who think, just because they paid for immersion in the nutrient vats, she should drop her carapace and become brood-host to their natal swarm. So she's written a handbook of practical advice for the single female tentaculoid playing the dating game on Eta Horologii IV.

Past winners may be viewed by clicking the label below.

And for those who wondered, the real plots were
Lesser Species: 3, N: 2, Death Ray: 2

2009 New Beginning Awards

Each year we honor the best work of our continuation writers. The minions voted, and here are the results:

5th Place
Lord Verenth

4th Place

3rd Place
Train Wreck

2nd Place
As You Know, Bob

1st Place
Job Chart

Click the label at the bottom of the post to see the results from previous years.

Cartoon 547

Caption: Steve Wright

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Face-Lift 714

Guess the Plot

The Fray

1. Initially it was Bob versus Tim. Then they enlisted reinforcements and it became the Blues versus the Reds. Then the conflict widened into North versus South. Then it went digital. Now, it's global.

2. When the scarves Aya is knitting for Christmas presents start to fray, so does her mind - convincing her doctor that knitting and mental illness are linked. Can he prove it in time to save his wife, a knittaholic?

3. Tessa knew that her posh new neighborhood had a reputation for cliques and high status power struggles. But when she is nearly run over by a Quinny Buzz Stroller, and then brained by a sterling silver baby rattle, Tessa has to find the strength to survive... The Fray. Also, organic hoodie smugglers.

4. When the pollution of the ether by cellphone signals causes their world to unravel, two faerie bands fail to do anything more productive than start a civil war. Can Brigidrhiannan repair the fray and save the fay?

5. Twin brothers Jeff & Jason have created The Fray, the ultimate war RPG. Too bad those cool pictures of weapons they found in the office next to Dad's and used in the game are of real guns. Can they survive with the FBI and the Army after them?

6. James finds a flag in the attic of his grandfather's house. When he tries to repair the unraveling edge he travels back to the Revolutionary War. To return to the present day, James must create a time rift by ensuring George Washington loses the war. Is it worth it?

7. Seraphian Quilph is a Weaver, sworn to protect the fabric of the space-time continuum with her supernatural gifts. When chaos demons emerge to wreak havoc on history, she has to track them to their source; the entropic force known only as... the Fray.

8. Faded and tattered clothes are the style, and Mari is always in style. Then she discovers talking moths are eating at the straps of all her tank tops. Will she realize the consequences in time? And what's this about a moth queen?

9. Life was boring for Zara, and it didn't get any better when Damion showed up. But she stops rebuffing him when she learns that they're both descended from Lilith, the original Vampire. Can the two of them defeat a coven of witches?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I have completed a 63,460 word YA paranormal romance manuscript titled “The Fray”, the first in the proposed "The Carians Series" for which I'm seeking representation. [I'd call it "planned" rather than proposed.] [Also, if your series has a really cool name, I don't mind knowing it, but there's no need to tell us it's The Carians Series, as that means nothing to us. The first book of a planned series is fine.]
[A cool series would be the Carry-on Series, in which each novel involves someone bring something strange onto an airplane in their carry-on luggage. In one novel it could be an inflatable raft, and in another it could be a live bat. Those would be funny, but there'd also be sad ones, like when someone brings her mother's ashes onto the plane and a tiny breach in the hull leads to the ashes being dispersed into the cabin and then sucked out through the opening.] [Admit it. The Carry-on Series sounds better than the Carian Series.]

Lilith, a sorceress, was the Creator Vampyr, the first one. Her lineage, called the Carians, still exists.

Zara Cowen is a British-American living in Ireland with her Aunt and Uncle, recovering from the loss of her parents while playing the part of a responsible elder sister to Linea. She leads a comfortable, yet slightly poignant and monotonous life. ["Poignant" doesn't thrill me as an adjective describing someone's life.]

The monotony is broken with the advent ["Arrival." Toss your thesaurus immediately.] of Damion Romano. He gets along with everyone and is a charming fellow. However, Zara sees his attempts at befriending and helping her like an effort to sabotage her strong image by extending sympathy at her situation. She rebuffs him raising barriers around herself. [I don't see why it would bother her so much for him to be friendly, helpful and sympathetic. "Sabotage her strong image" is too vague to explain that reaction.]

Soon enough, the revelation that Zara's maternal family is descendent of the Creator Vampyr Lilith sends everything in disarray, especially when she finds Damion is a descendent from the same clan as well, which also makes them closer. They find out that a coven of Dark Witches, Seven Elders, is after them as they are Carian Companions, a rare situation when two Eldest Children descending from the same Carian Witch (not blood relatives, though) come together and can perform magic. [How does that being descended from the same person but not being blood relatives work? You mean they were both created by the same vampire?] [If anyone can be called blood relatives, it's vampires made by the same creator.]

The story moves on [No need to say that; just tell us where it's going.] as Zara struggles with the empty feeling that still lingers in her heart, her concerns for her sister, her developing feelings for Damion and this new dimension of her magical life as the divide between the Carians and her normal life is breached and, together, Damion and Zara must face the Seven Elders. [Too much information for one sentence--if that is a sentence.]



Blogger doesn't like the way you spell "descendant."

There's a revelation that Zara's a Carian, then she finds Damion's also a Carian, then they find out the Elders are after them . . . where's all this information coming from?

Is there an ending, or is everything resolved later in the series?

Are any of these characters vampires? You call Lilith the original vampyr, but you also call her a sorceress. You claim Damion and Zara together can do magic. Are Lilith's descendants vampires? If there aren't any vampires, using the word "vampyr" in the query is going to lead to a misunderstanding.

Cartoon 546

Caption: Steve Wright

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Beginning 716

I am going. I have borne this bitterness too many years. The children are with their grandmother. I will come back to them in six days as though I had only gone to the moondark house. I cannot leave them to her. Look what she did to me.

There is starlight enough to see by. The long grass reflects it, the trees by the river swallow it. I walk in the light. No one can stop me.

No one will see me here, in the dark of the moon, in the dark under the trees.

All my life I have gone stumbling in the dark, surrounded by their eyes. Even my daughter, my star, looks on me with my sister’s cold eyes, with Uyali’s eyes.

Not even the stars will see me going from the moondark house. Not even Uyali will see me. The sound of the river will cover the sound of my steps, the shape of the land will guide my feet, and I will go free.

Sunrise. Birds crying. My legs are tired. My feet hurt. I keep going.

"How much did that one cost you?"

Mark stopped reading aloud and looked up from his Sony Reader, "Forty-nine cents."

"Huh. Well, for once, I'd say you got your money's worth."

Opening: Joanna Hoyt.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 545

Caption: Steve Wright

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Face-Lift 713

Guess the Plot

Queen of Freaks

1. Daisy leads the circus clowns with a regal spirit, an iron fist, and six fire-juggling dwarfs who always do her bidding. So when Gladys says she won't wear the yard-long shoes or the red nose anymore, war breaks out.

2. Did Eddie lose his mind because of Wanda's bad meth? That unfortunate UFO sighting in New Mexico? His stint in the dancing chorus? His sister Lois isn't sure, but now that he's living in her basement, she wants him to ditch the bouffant wig and get a real job.

3. Someone is murdering teens in nearby towns, and suspicion falls upon Lily's school, where all the students are super-powered freaks. If Lily can't lead her team of future X-Men in solving the murders, the school may close. And Lily will never get a date with that really hot werewolf.

4. When a drunken surgeon replaced her hands with lobster claws, Natalie's popularity crashed. Exiled from polite society, she takes off sailing solo round the world -- only to be shipwrecked on a desert island inhabited by walrusmen, midget vampires, and zombie pirates. But it's not so bad once they make her their queen.

5. Prom sucks when you're a nerd or geek. David and Jared have an idea: have an Alternate Prom for the freaks & outcasts of Highland High. Only problem: how will they get the nerve to ask girls to participate?

6. Frank Stark, ultra-conservative father, has finally had it with his son, Michael. Will Frank cut his only child off, emotionally and financially, or will he learn to accept Michael wearing ball-gowns during his leisure hours?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I'm seeking representation for my upper YA urban fantasy, Queen of Freaks, complete at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series and PC and Kristen Cast's House of Night series.

People think Lily Gardner is a freak because of her dyed hair and combat boots, but what really makes her freaky are the superpowers she's hiding. When she loses control of them during a breakdown at the mall, [disintegrating Abercrombie and Fitch for not having that cute pink top in her size,] the headmaster of the Great Lakes School for Exceptional Young People comes calling. GLS is secretly a haven for the supernatural. What Lily finds there is very little acceptance and a whole lot of rivalry. Her life was never normal, but now it's complicated by super-powered cat fights, [If you think cat fights at your high school were bad, you should see Tigress and The Lynx go at it.] a best friend who has complete access to her mind, and a crush on the hottest werewolf in school. In a place where everybody else strives to stand out, Lily just wants to fit in.

Just when things start going well, [You haven't made this sound like a place where things are going to start going well. Can you mention something Lily likes about being there?] Lily and her friends find the body of a dead classmate. The death links the school to a string of murdered teens in nearby towns. [Did the victims all have their throats ripped out when the moon was full? Just asking.] As everyone wonders who did it and who will be next, rumors fly about GLS closing before the investigation reveals the school's secrets. Unwilling to give up her new home, Lily bands together with her classmates to catch the killer. What use are superpowers if they can't catch one bad guy?

Queen of Freaks is the first in a series. Per your submission guidelines I have included the first 5 pages and synopsis. Thank you for your consideration.



Sounds good. We know there are werewolves and a mind reader; why don't we get to know Lily's super power(s)?

Is Lily the queen of the freaks? She's an outsider, just wants to fit in, bands together with the others (rather than leading them?). Why would she be considered the queen?

Cartoon 544

Caption: Steve Wright

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009


The 2nd Biennial Christmas Guess the Plot Quiz

Christmas comes once a year, but it comes more often than that in fake plots. One of the plots below, however, turned out to be the actual plot of a minion's novel. Which one?

1. They were ratty, they were torn, they were holey ghosts. But now, thanks to a little help from the Spirit of Christmas Past, they're getting it all together. Demons better watch out - its the all new . . . Unholy Ghosts.

2. A guy who pees on her boots. A porn-obsessed crybaby. A cheese thief. Sofia always seems to end up with losers. Her latest boyfriend has just given her her Christmas present: a crummy loaf of bread! Is this the final straw? Or is this what she gets for moving to LA?

3. Something sinister is afoot when the insurance office does its Secret Santa drawing and everyone draws Lucretia's name. Lucretia gets 35 gifts -- and a bullet in the head. Only mailroom boy Clark Cooper can both solve the mystery and deal with the Returns office at Macy's.

4. Sunol, California, 1998. Jeff Dunley and Mark Morris are engaged in an all-out, take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred war between their rival Christmas Tree farms.

5. When Santa's henchmen get tipsy on grog left beside the tree on Christmas Eve and end up busted for burglary, they soon realize the only way to survive incarceration is to form their own gang. They can't be "elves" any more. So they pierce their substantial pointy ears and swagger around, calling themselves the Holiday Lords.

6. Tina is beginning to hate Christmas. Every year it's the same two weeks of stress-inducing hell. Her family, in-laws, her family, in-laws. That is, until she finds out that she's married into the richest, most powerful group of witches and warlocks in the country. Can Tina convince them to halt their assault on the holidays and just relax already?

7. Christmastime, gentle snow falls, merry Santas, bludgeoned girls whose hair falls over their crushed skulls like strands of silver . . . it's just another day for Rudolph.

8. Secret Santa is all fun and games, until Hayley opens her package and finds a human hand. Should she report it to the cops or investigate herself? How hard can it be to spot someone who's missing a hand?

9. When Santa and the reindeer crash on Christmas Eve, all the cavemen are excited about the sudden abundance of free food. Mugoo fires up the barbeque while Santa searches the snow for his broken time turner so he can get back to the right century and save Christmas. Plus, seven angry elves.

Answer below.

Click the label at the bottom of the post to check out the previous Christmas Guess the Plot Quiz.

The real plot was #2

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Face-Lift 712

Guess the Plot

I Am the Tempted

1. As she celebrates her 42nd dry day, Abby Foster finds that bottle she hid in a boot long ago -- and it's half full! Next, she realizes it would be much easier to drop out of law school and join the army so she goes to surprise her old squeeze Josh, and ask what Afghanistan's really like, but then she discovers an urgent need to kill that vile thing, Samantha, who's skulking round his apartment.

2. Fat guy. Enter: milkshake.

3. Kaitlin's relationship with Jessey started out great, but then she met "bad boy" Tim. Is the temptation too great to withstand? She'll have to decide later, having just learned that a demon-possessed theologian is crossing the country, hell-bent on killing her.

4. Confessions of a retired politician, including the reasons he dallied in the men's room and with various ladies, his long-suffering marriage, pact with GOD, target-practice injuries, bankruptcy issues, trouble with alien domestic helpers, and efforts to take over the world.

5. Jerry Filbergast's memoir, with complete details of his saintliness, dedication to Bible-reading, and remarkable ability to say NO THANKS to wayward girls, strangers offering miraculous substances, and mortgage brokers.

6. Chocolate, ice cream, triple cheese pizza? Bah! One thing keeps Joanne Bingham going; donuts. A rarity since the invasion of the Twigites and the subsequent sugar rationing, she will do anything for donuts. Lie. Cheat. Even write. A post-apocalyptic baking industry satire. Also, an Evil Editor.

7. Jill Sykes opened what she thought would be a struggling bakery for the first few years of operation, but everyone fell for the temptation of her doughnuts, cookies and biscuits in an eerie, almost supernatural way. Is it Jill's special recipe, or the fact that Demeter, goddess of grain, has taken up residence in the basement?

8. Eve Lundt, a chocoholic who works at a chocolate factory, starts a support group for winning over temptation. Three shopaholics, two thrillseekers, and one vampire later she's a blood-sucking spendthrift sky diver. In a last-ditch effort to develop self-discipline, Eve's group joins a Tibetan monestery.

9. The long-awaited memoirs of Cardinal Diarmuid Flanagan O'Murphy, in which he gives his personal views on matters of sin and repentance, and also explains that those altar boys knew exactly what they were doing, oh yes, they led him on, all 1,213 of them.

Original Version

Dear EE and Minions,

After a series of terrifying experiences with her possessed theology teacher, Kaitlin Loeffler is expelled from St. Clement High School and sent to live with her father in a tiny Montanan town. [If I'm having terrifying experiences with a possessed theology teacher, you don't need to expel me. I'm gone.] [Now that I think about it, if I'm a high school student and I somehow landed in a theology class, I'm gone whether the teacher is possessed or not.] She wants her new life to be different: free from the guilt and pain of losing her best friend, free from her ability to see demons and their terrible influence on those around her, even free from her guardian angel, the one who gave her the ability in the first place. [The one who stood by doing nothing while Kaitlin had terrifying experiences with a possessed theology teacher. Good riddance.] She wants to be normal. She wants to fit in.

Jessey, a handsome boy in her physics class, [They don't teach physics in Montana. Change that to cow tipping.] invites Kaitlin to a study session and she is introduced to Tim, his wild, rebellious younger brother. Her relationship with Jessey is off to a promising start and she is enjoying a small taste of a normal life. All of this comes crashing down when Kaitlin’s guardian angel arrives and tells her she has chosen the wrong brother. [Has this guardian angel earned his wings yet? He sounds like a loser.] [Also, "comes crashing down" is pretty strong words to describe something that doesn't seem like a big deal. It's not like the guardian angel told her Jessey was a possessed physics student.]

Kaitlin is determined to prove her guardian wrong, although Tim’s bad boy attitude is alluring. Her guardian angel leaves her [This guy's pathetic. He reminds me of a waiter I had a few nights ago, doting over his big table and ignoring the fact that I might want a bit more fresh pepper on my soup. (I didn't, but that's not the point.)] [Do guardian angels even have more than one table?] and as a result, Kaitlin can not only see the demons whispering, [She was already able to see demons.] but becomes the object of those whisperings herself. Against her better judgement, [In Montana, that's spelled "judgment."] she befriends Tim, and is quickly overwhelmed by his charming personality. Kaitlin can’t seem to hide anything from him, which is problematic, because she is trying desperately to keep her ability secret. [Go ahead and blab, Kate. It's not like he'll believe you if you declare that you can see demons.]

Life seems to be setting into a comfortable routine for Kaitlin. [That wasn't the impression I was getting.] Even this is shattered. Kaitlin’s guardian returns with a warning: the possessed teacher is halfway to Montana, and hell-bent on killing her. ["Shattered" is pretty mild words to describe something as terrifying as a homicidal possessed theology teacher stalking you.] As she prepares to face her demon, literally, her relationships with Jessey and Tim crumble and she must find the strength to confront the demon alone to save his future victims without becoming one herself. [You'd think a guardian angel could be more useful than to just announce, "Oh, by the way, a possessed theology teacher is on his way, planning to kill you." Can't the angel cause the possessed theology teacher's car to go over a cliff?]

I am the Tempted is a YA Paranormal novel complete at 80,000 words. Full manuscript available upon request.

Thank you for your time.



Now that Kaitlin is in Montana, why does the possessed theology teacher want to kill her? She's not bothering him. There are demons in Montana who can kill her if she's a threat to demonkind.

I'd go with Montana town, not Montanan. And Jesse.

Has Kaitlin mentioned to her guardian angel that she'd like to return her demon-seeing gift?

Cartoon 543

Caption: anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Beginning 715

Teresa was already sitting at a table near the bar, a bottle of wine and two glasses in front of her. Carrie cursed and dashed forward. "I'm so sorry I'm late."

"As long as you have a good excuse."

"I was on my way here and I saw these sandals, well..." Carrie pulled open her shopping bag and pulled out a pair of 4-inch heels, ivory leather with a peep toe and lace-up front. "Come on, tell me honestly, have you ever seen such gorgeous shoes? I just had to have them."

Teresa rolled her eyes. "There's only one thing that looks good in white and that's wine. Have some." She filled her friend's glass.

"They are off-white. Cream. Almost beige." Carrie left the shoes on the table and slumped into the chair.

"White stilleto heels. I thought you wanted men to love you for your brains!"

"At this point, I'll take what I can get. Anyway, I told you about Scott."

"The guy you met at the singles' bar, right?" Teresa snorted. "I don't know why you do it. It's like every Christmas, you get into some sort of funk and pick up some random guy in some trashy club you wouldn't be seen dead in the rest of the year. He gets laid for New Year's and then cuts out just in time for Valentine's because he's too cheap to even buy you flowers."

"Bingo!" Everyone groaned as Madison waved her card in the air. "Wine, shoes, sassy friend, and bad taste in men. That's bingo."

"Congratulations!" Susan said, handing over the bottle of wine that was the evening's first prize. "That's our first-ever bingo on page 1!" She closed the book and opened another. "On to the next book: The Knitting Circle Murders."

Everyone in the crowded room exchanged their "chick lit" cards for "cozy mystery". Susan beamed as she cleared her throat and started reading again. No doubt about it, Book Club Bingo was a hit!

Opening: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley.....Continuation: Sarah from Hawthorne

The Second Serial Killers Guess the Plot Quiz

You wouldn't want to meet one in real life, but serial killers turn up in fake plots every so often. Real plots too: Five of the following plots turned out to be the actual plots of minions' novels. Which ones?

1. Combining the studies of Vlad Dracul, Jack the Ripper, Billy the Kid, Ted Bundy and Seung Hui Cho, The Academy analyzed the most violent of killers throughout the centuries and created the newest breed of serial killers. But can they also create the profilers to stop them? Game on.

2. A decade after the death of his wife in a tragic sculling incident, border patrolman Clint Fujimaki still believes she was murdered. The serial killer known as "The Drowner" hasn't sunk a victim in years, but when illegals begin bobbing up in the Rio Grande, Fujimaki has a sinking feeling that his wife's murderer has returned.

3. It sucks being named Jane Doe. It doesn't help that she's quiet as a church mouse at the morgue, where she works. It also doesn't help that she dresses like a homeless woman, especially when a serial killer starts murdering homeless women around the city. Police think she's the next Jane Doe to die. Can Jane develop some fashion sense before it's too late?

4. When the Herald goes out of business, it has a bigger effect on Sunnydale than just a couple hundred lost jobs, especially when a serial killer begins stalking the residents, and no one can get up-to-date news or check the obituaries to see who the most recent victim was.

5. Who is killing the homeless? I'm Addy. I run the shelter, and I've fallen for one of the homeless guys, but that's the least of my problems. The cops think I'm the obsessed serial killer behind all the grisly murders committed lately, here on . . . Harper Street.

6. When Jasmine has a psychic vision of her rival Marissa dying at the hands of a serial killer, she's tempted to say nothing, but eventually she tells hunky police detective Eric. Now Jasmine's having visions that indicate she should have kept her mouth shut. Has she become the killer's next target?

7. Hanna Murphy, author of the scandalous I NEED A MAN RIGHT NOW! blog, disappears and everyone assumes a serial killer was responsible, but Inspector Joyce Raines realizes there's a paranormal air-sucking hole in the Murphy plumbing -- just as she, too, is transported through it to a swampy time-space warp full of evil wizards.

8. A series of bizarre deaths--someone drowns in a pile of barley, someone has a fatal encounter with a dishwasher, etc.--has the police thinking accidents, but one psychologist realizes there's a serial killer on the loose, one he might be able to lead down the rocky path to . . . Redemption.

9. When the letters U and I turn up missing from alphabet soup cans at crime scenes, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: he's on the trail of a kleptomaniac serial killer who was traumatized by a childhood word guessing game; and he'd better remember to pick up his wife's Andy Warhol comforter from Hang's Dry Cleaning.

10. Burned out after twenty years of white collar work, a yuppie quits his job and moves to a farm in Wales, where he finds peace and takes up a new hobby: torturing and slaughtering people in his . . . Chicken Shed.

11. Convicted of sixteen murders by the age of thirteen, the world's youngest serial killer, waits on death row. And if you think Mendelve's daughter Sarah was bad, wait'll I tell you about Mendelve.

12. With a brutal serial killer holding him hostage and his life depending on a game, it's not the best time for Mason to discover he lost some of the Scrabble tiles.

13. When Liz starts getting daily love letters from a complete stranger, she's flattered . . . until she reads a newspaper article about a serial killer known as The Correspondent.

14. Matchmaker Penelope Thurgood never meant to hurt anyone - it wasn't her fault that she set people up with serial killers. But now they're all dead and Penelope is scared to set anyone else up . . . until the police bring her in to help catch a new serial murderer. Will she find him before he finds her?

15. The sign on the door on the right says "ordino." The other door reads "ourtodo." The sign above both announces "Anagram Club." Lily and Nick are the only ones to know who serial killer "The Puzzler" really is. Can they solve the clues and find him... beyond Ordino?

16. Sentenced to dig trenches from dusk till dawn, serial killer Joe Ogilvie figures he's gotten off easy--until he learns his sentence will be served at the south pole, where one night lasts six months.

17. The other kids teased Omnipuplotto Smirnichovich every day of first grade and he cried so much it ruined his entire life. For second grade, his parents shorten his name to Omn Smir, but the damage is done. He goes on to become The Sobbing Serial Killer.

18. He wanted to be America's newest serial killer, but he needed an angle. It came to him one night in Santa Monica. Four hours later, Oliver Stone, Sharon Stone and "Stone" Phillips were chalk lines on the pavement.

Answers below

Click the label at the bottom of the post to take the previous serial killer GTP quiz.

Actual Plots:
5, 6, 8, 10, 11

Cartoon 542

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Face-Lift 711

Guess the Plot

How to Kiss a Ghost

1. Step 1: Tilt your head to keep the scruff from tickling your chin. Step 2: No tongue unless you want to get kicked. Step 3: Lots and lots of breath mints. What? Oh, I thought you said "Goat".

2. First you have to die, no faking. Next you have to make sure you're on the same wavelength as your non-corporeal other. Ignore all the spectators. Are you sure you wouldn't rather just go for someone normal?

3. Find a really, really hot guy, and accidentally run over him. Then get a Ouija board and pucker up.

4. Elsie falls in love with a guy who exists in her mirror. Is he a ghost? Was he trapped there by a witch's spell? Would it look weird if someone saw her kissing the mirror?

5. Jack and Bertha run a B & B in Wyoming which is on the brink of collapse until they start running seminars on the secrets of 'love beyond the grave'. Hilarity ensues when spoil-sport Tammy Hillburg attends undercover as a 'widow' to make a documentary film exposing the fakery.

6. Being dead has its advantages for Greg, but sex with your lover isn't one--especially when she's still alive. So to help others overcome this obstacle, Greg and Sally sit down together to write their first self-help book.

7. When Claire Wincefield's husband died in a freak yachting accident on their honeymoon, her friends told her to put it behind her. But Claire is made of sterner stuff; now, with the help of unconventional psychic Cassiopeia Milestone, she's planning to put the romance back into necromancy.

8. Film star Ellen Lauder must appear to carry on an entire 'romance' with her CGI co-star, who will be supplied in post-production. Meanwhile no one is there. She finds this impossible until the ghost of Sidney Jackson appears. And then she gets fired for being 'too X-rated' -- but now the ghost won't leave!

Original Version

Dear Agent,

In my 60,000-word YA Paranormal romance, HOW TO KISS A GHOST, seventeen-year-old Elsie can see him, she can hear him, but she can't touch him or can she? [One thing's for sure: she can smell him. How long's he been dead?] [Put a dash or an ellipsis after "touch him."]

Elsie doesn’t remember being pushed into oncoming traffic by a drunk driver, getting broadsided by Aiden Prescott’s BMW, [Could you diagram that accident for me?] or even dying and returning to life with a gift for seeing ghosts. All she knows is her sister is dead and she should be dead too. [What makes her think she should be dead too, if she doesn't even remember the accident?] To escape the pain, Elsie attempts to overdose, [Elsie had nothing to do with her sister's death, right?] but a ghostly boy appears in the mirror as the bottle touches her lips, freaking her out at first, [When you look in a mirror and see someone else's face looking back, first confirm that the mirror isn't actually a window; then freak out . . . Especially if it is a window.] then giving her a reason to want to live again.

Aiden's the only person (or ghost) Elsie feels comfortable talking to – the only one who doesn’t force her to talk about that night. [What about her sister? Is she a ghost?] [Why do all other people and ghosts force her to talk about that night?] As their friendship starts to heat up, so does the mystery surrounding him. [Can she see Aiden anywhere except in the mirror? Because if I had a friend who existed in a mirror, I would feel pretty weird if the friendship started heating up. You definitely don't want anyone to see you making out with a mirror.] [Although it is pretty erotic.] [I'm told.] If his secret of who he really is, his sudden disappearance, and the absence of touch doesn’t disrupt their relationship, Mimi Jenkins will. [Who? Ah, the other woman. Are good men so hard to find these days that women will fight over a guy who exists only in a mirror?]

In her search to find out why Mimi is so bent on hurting her, Elsie stumbles across an article about the accident. Not only does she discover Mimi's dad caused the wreck, but she also finds out Aiden may be alive. [Did he claim to be dead?] She now knows why he kept his identity a secret. His car was the last one to hit her; killing her sister. In order to find him she must first face off with a deranged Mimi – who doesn't care who hit who, or that her dad was a drunk, fact is, Elsie caused him not to come home – if she fails, Elsie will lose more than Aiden, she could potentially lose her life. [Could you diagram that sentence for me?]

Thank you for your time and consideration.



So Mimi's dad plows into Elsie's stopped car, knocking it into the path of Aiden's car. I'm thinking most of the force of the first accident would be absorbed by the cars, so that Elsie's car would not be moving very fast or very far into the intersection, and Aiden would have had time to swerve and brake . . . unless . . . Aiden had his eyes closed because he was in the middle of an allergy-related sneeze. Note how with a little applied logic I was able to explain the seemingly inexplicable.

It doesn't seem that someone who was about to commit suicide over the loss of her sister would so quickly get involved in a hot and heavy romance with a guy in her mirror.

How many of these cars had airbags?

It's not easy to buy Mimi blaming Elsie.

No one's named their kid Elsie since it became the name of a famous cow half a century ago. Change it to Elise.

Cartoon 541

Caption: anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Survey Results

1. Which of the following blog features would you miss if it were no longer here?

.................................Keep it.............Dump it.............Huh?
Face-Lifts................100.0%................0.0% ..................0.0%
New Beginnings.......94.7%.................2.6% ...................2.6%
Saturday Films.........35.7%...............32.1% ...................32.1%
Writing Exercises.....90.0%................3.3%......................6.7%
Guess the Plot...........91.9%................5.4%......................2.7%
Book Chats...............48.3%................6.9%....................44.8%
Misc..........................43.8% ...............3.1%....................53.1%
Q & A........................Forgot to include in survey.

For those who didn't know there was misc. stuff here, I was referring to pieces like this and this and this.

Cartoon 540

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009


The 3rd Vampire Guess the Plot Quiz

Vampires are a frequent feature in fake plots, but five of the plots below turned out to be the actual plots of minions' novels. Which ones?

1. Tommy's a student at Vampire Tech, where he takes courses like Remedial Blood Sucking, but he has a problem: his favorite food is garlic, and they don't serve garlic at the Vampire Tech cafeteria. What's an Italian vampire to do?

2. Dating was never such a pleasure. Margo is happy to be married, because it means no more limiting her garlic consumption. But how can her husband Percy take it? One more clove, and he's rushing out the door and into the arms of Jolene Trumbull, vampire librarian.

3. In a world ruled by vampires, the few remaining humans are a precious food resource. Our heroine is on the run, trying to escape a lifetime of imprisonment as a blood supply. One hunky vampire offers to help her. But can she trust him? In the new world, when a vampire finds a human, it's . . . Finders Keepers.

4. The wind brings glad tidings--a child is born unto a minor prince in the little town of Wallachia. And he shall be named Vlad. And he shall be a good man. Then a dragon shall awake and ruin everything. Also, a vampire.

5. Evan is a vampire with a problem--he can feed--and live--only by day. Unfortunately he loves Persephone, a more traditional vampire. They say opposites attract, but can these latent lovebirds overcome the barriers keeping them apart?

6. Three charred bodies turn up at the city morgue with stakes through their hearts. But, if the bodies really were vampires spontaneously combusting, there should only be ash remaining. Homicide detective Zack Martinez is on the case . . . as soon as he returns from his second honeymoon in Transylvania.

7. When the New York Vampire Clan - Big Apple Blood Suckers - hold their spring social, Scarlet Emmenecker learns more than the tango, samba and electric slide. Her hunky dance teacher introduces her to the latest craze - the Love Inferno - and she, in turn, drains his blood.

8. Banishing night seemed like a good idea at the time to magician Carl Minos. What he didn't take into account was that vampires, although minorities, were real, and they took exception. Can Carl reverse the Nightbane's effects before the vampires' sunscreen wears off?

9. Lee Trenton knows better than to be afraid of vampires. In fact, he makes a fine living off of them, running a scam mail-order coffin service. But when he gets an order from Dracula himself, which one of them will end up being the sucker?

10. When Kalinda has a one-night stand with Steve, she never dreams that she'll soon be taking him home to meet her parents. Or that Steve is a vampire. All she knows is he's great in the sack, and that makes him a keeper.

11. Dracula always wanted a pet, but dogs and cats just weren't cutting it. When he stumbles across a dragon hibernating in the Carpathians, he decides he's finally found an animal companion worthy of him. But, feeling peckish, Dracula makes the mistake of biting the dragon, creating a vampiric menace. Can he prevent the countryside from being sucked dry by . . . The Blood Dragon?

12. Abriel has powers beyond those of normal humans. Government bounty hunters are after her, so she leaves high school and takes a job babysitting child elementals at a camp run by vampires.

13. Tina has been cast in a new TV show about London vampires. Funny thing is, the male lead never comes out of his trailer unless he's on set. Tina's sure he's a real vampire. Can she confront him without getting bitten?

14. The six girls at Springdale Reform House swear never to reveal which of them is the vampire, but the zombie can't get anything straight and blurts it out. When junior counselor Tabitha Thompson realizes a third of her charges are already dead, she must decide, among other things, whether to tell Nurse Williams to skip their flu shots.

15. It's another freakin' vampire novel where he's all tortured and broody because he can't tell if he loves her or if he's just kinda hungry and she's into him because he's so mysterious but protective and he's like "We can never be together" and she's all "But I love you!" and we all know where this is going but let's face it: people never seem to get tired of this one so shall we just cut to the chase and talk price?

16. In a world where vampires no longer drink human blood, there are exceptions: Drinkers! When Cyril learns that some Drinkers may be living in town, it's up to him to investigate, and to report his findings to the World Vampire Association.

Answers below.

Click on the label at the bottom of the post to view previous vampire guess-the-plot quizzes.

The actual plots are numbers
1, 4, 10, 12, 16

New Beginning 714

The watch turned into a magpie.

Misha blinked and rubbed her eyes. Maybe I have sand in my eyes. She shifted from her position behind the boulder to get a better look. A woman stood by a cluster of big rocks on a near-empty beach. Her dark hair scattered over an angular, scary face.

Mom’s prettier, Misha concluded. She was smart enough not to say it out loud. Grownups usually didn’t like it when she told them the truth.

But that fluffy, black thing the woman carried? Definitely a magpie. Honest to God, Misha saw the woman curse and fumble for her wristwatch, tear it off her wrist, and throw it into the air. She saw the straps grow and feathers sprout. She saw a magpie with rustling, bent feathers land in the woman’s hands. It puffed out a white chest.

She could know how to do magic. I think Mom called those people mages.

As Misha watched, the woman turned a cell phone into a brick, a felt-tip pen into a palm frond, and a dollar bill into a gum wrapper.

She has that "turn-it-into-something-less-useful" spell down pat, Misha thought. I think Mom called those people politicians.

Opening: Silvia Park.....Continuation: John

Cartoon 539

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Face-Lift 710

Guess the Plot

Spider Slayer

1. Everyone thought the wall-climbing axeman of Dublin, 'Spider' Murphy, was the toughest individual ever to elude capture -- until he met his match. Now the whole island is abuzz -- who can the Spider slayer be? And where is he? Only a trio of schoolgirls meeting in the Starbucks on Buchanan Street to select their next victim know for sure.

2. It's Arachnophobia meets Crocodile Hunter in Spider Slayer, the latest nature TV hit. But the ratings start dropping--until star Serrin Cutch rescues a woman from a giant spider web in prime time. Now if Cutch can just keep the world from finding out he drugged the woman and threw her into the web . . .

3. Steve "Spider" Slayer is the best flyweight boxer that down-on-his-luck ex-Olympic coach Charlie Branden has ever seen, bar none. Is it the keen eyesight, the lightning reflexes, or the six arms that make him so special?

4. Bugsy Mahone guzzled from a bottle labeled "Drink Me" while hiding out from the mob he double-crossed. Smaller than a bullet now, he no longer worries about guns. Then again, the spiders have their own racket going.

5. Spider Slayer is sick of crap entertainment at the Home for Pointless Superheroes. Together with roomies Klutz Kicker Kid and Never Remember Anythingman, SS leads a liberation campaign on Marvel Mansions, an elite retirement facility. Hilarity ensues when instead of Wii, they find Elektra, She-Hulk, and Black Widow.

6. When Bob started Spider Slayer, his mobile spider killing business, it was just to get women. Turned out there were a lot more people afraid of spiders than he thought. Now he has branches in every major city and next week he takes the company public with an IPO of six million shares.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I seek representation for my 83,000 word novel, Spider Slayer.

Spider Slayer's ratings started falling back in November; [Audiences are fickle; once they've watched a guy stomp on spiders for a few months they move on.] while The Crocodile Hunter meets Arachnophobia was a fresh concept back before the gasoline crisis, the shortage has reminded the mostly-human US citizenry that they were competing for resources with, let's face it, inferior beings. [Spiders may be inferior beings, but they don't use that much gasoline. Even if they drove cars, they'd be tiny cars that get great mileage.]

Then Serrin Cutch, the Spider Slayer, found a human reporter caught in a web and saved her life on prime-time TV. To many, this proved that the Choloki were not sub-human. It proved that there could be peace between the US and the scattered tribes. [Are we at war with them?] [I'm inferring that the Spider Slayer is Choloki; I'd rather have that spelled out for me.]

This was all before a pair of local sleuths found out that he drugged the reporter and threw her into the spider's web himself. [Thus proving that the Choloki are even more like humans than anyone thought.]

Thank you,


If the Choloki consist of scattered tribes, it's hard to believe they use enough gasoline to affect the humans' supply.

Lemme see if I've got this straight. There are tribes of Choloki scattered throughout the US, and humans consider them inferior beings, and now that we're running low on gas, we're gonna kill the Chiloki off because they use gas. Then a Chiloki saves a woman from a giant spider so we decide we'll let them live and we'll just deny them gas. Then we find out the rescue was staged, so we kill them off after all.

There needs to be a better connection of the ideas. You need to mention the Choloki earlier. What's the connection between the gas shortage and the falling ratings? Is Serrin Cutch the main character? Reorganize this so it sounds like a cohesive plot instead of something just thrown together.

Cartoon 538

Caption: Steve Wright

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The 2nd Biennial Satan Guess the Plot Quiz

Satan pops up now and then in fake plots, but three of the plots below turned out to be the actual plots of minions' novels. Which ones?

1. Kicked out of heaven, guardian angel Adora is now a high school student. When her brother--Lucifer--shows up wanting the soul of her babysitting charge, Adora refuses to give her up. But can she win this battle in the age-old war between good and evil in time to make it to the prom?

2. T-Dawg had stole some fine hoopties before, but nothing like this black Porsche. Tha peeps down at tha Park gonna love his mad skillz! Little does he know he's stolen Lucifer's car, and he's gonna really be ghostrifing this whip.

3. Newly-minted literature professor Christine LeBrock knew her department was full of the usual gossip & politics. What she wasn't expecting was a full-blown Satanic cult operating beneath Childers Hall. Is sacrificing a bright senior a fair price for tenure?

4. When Ellen flees her strait-laced family and meets a handsome stranger, she misunderstands his introduction, thinking him in the underwear business. When she discovers that he's actually the son of Satan, will she be pleased or disappointed?

5. There's a new kid at Grover Cleveland Middle School: Damien Shatan, a quiet, dark-eyed boy who never speaks to anyone. Frederica Collins, math whiz and new herself, decides to try and bring him out of his shell. What will happen when she discovers he isn't just different--he's actually from Hell?

6. It's taken Nancy fifteen years to get up a head of anger against her unfaithful husband, but now that her fuse is lit, she's on the rampage. Will Detective Crusoe work out that the women burning on upside-down crosses aren't the work of the local Satanists?

7. When an editor tells Kiki the only way she'll ever be published is if she sells her soul to the devil in exchange for some talent, she does just that. Years later, after she hits the New York Times Bestseller List, Satan comes to collect, and Kiki realizes that maybe it wasn't worth it. She makes another deal. Now the only way she can save her soul is to write a book good enough to make Satan himself cry.

8. Mortally wounded in a battle between Good and Evil, Morvin discovers he can recover and continue the fight by shoving two quarters up his ass. Can he defeat the spawn of Satan before running out of coins or developing piles?

9. When Satan finds himself having a mid-life crisis, he has two choices: He'll either have to fall in love and start performing acts of kindness . . . or buy a Porsche.

10. Tom Stop figured he'd boosted the sweetest ride on the streets. But, as he pulled out of the parking lot at Club 666 and the painted flames along the sides burst into real flames, he began to think he'd made a mistake. Now he's got 24 hours to find the car's owner or he'll discover that "highway to hell" isn't just a figure of speech.

11. Archangels Michael and Gabriel wager to see who gets the unwanted assignment of babysitting the ditzy heiress Claire Sheraton before Satan can tempt her into having his child and creating a horrible chain of disastrous events marking the end of humanity.

12. After being told she was special all her life, Tiffany Barns did not expect to go to Hell. But she did. After burning for a week, she's so obnoxious about the unfairness of it all, even Satan wants to kick her out. So he bets God she'd be just as bad the second time around.

13. When the devil offers to trade in his 2008 Porsche for a 2004 Prius--and the salesman's soul--Honest Bob doesn't think twice about closing the deal. After all, has any car salesman ever made it to the Pearly Gates anyway?

14. As Jesus preaches his message of peace, a lowly fisherman leads a rebellion against the devil and his demon army. Can one fisherman save all the tortured souls of hell from damnation? And if he does, will Jesus take all the credit?

15. A superhero team consisting of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost fight crime in Vatican City. Not a bad gig--until the villain known as the Antichrist sets up shop next to St. Peter's. Can our heroes take him down without causing Armageddon?

Answers below

Click the label below to revisit the 1st Satan GTP quiz.

Actual plots: 1, 9 and 14.

New Beginning 713

I had yet to begin cleaning out Richard’s things. They still lingered in the kitchen, the closets, the den. I couldn’t even delete his old files from the computer. Some of them were years old, but I needed something to hold onto. Fifteen years of marriage, yet I still felt like the memories would become hazy.

Our daughter, Sarah, behaved differently than me. I daresay even better than I had. Everything Richard had been purged from her room. She no longer hung about the house. She’d come in and go straight to her room.

“This place feels like he’s still here, Mom.” She would look at me sadly, but on the edge of her voice was disgust. “Let him go. He was horrible.”

I didn’t know how to respond then, nor do I know how to now when she sees something of his and gives me that same look. Shame still floats on the edge of her sadness. I simply look away. She looks too much like Richard in those moments.

Our son, Andrew, keeps to himself too, now. He used to be very outgoing, popular. He’s become stoic, but sometimes he’ll have an outpouring of emotion. Those days are becoming less and less.

So you see? You couldn't have come at a better time. It's like it was ordained. I think, I have to believe, that vacuum cleaner is just what I need; I'd love to discuss it more with you. Did anyone ever tell you, you look like George Clooney? George is the kind of guy I should have married. Wait. Where are you going? Come on in!

Opening: Xiexie.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 537

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Success Story

Dear Evil One,

I am writing to let you know that, thanks to you and your minions, I have been experiencing some great success (at least, it's a great success in my opinion).

On October 25, 2007 you, your evil child, and your evil minions critiqued my query (Face-Lift 441). I revised accordingly, and roughly 6 months later, landed my dream agent. I worked with her for nearly a year on revisions, and just this past summer was offered a 2-book deal. My debut YA novel, now titled The Tension of Opposites, will be released on May 25, 2010.

So once again, thank you Evil One, thank you Evil Child, and thank you Evil Minions!

Kristina McBride


The 2nd Biennial WereCreature Guess the Plot Quiz

Werecreatures show up in fake plots every so often. But eight of the plots below were actual plots of minions' novels. Which ones?

1. When a blood-drinking serial killer starts operating in New York City, no one knows if it's a vampire or a psycho, but two things are certain: someone's got to stop him, and the best person for the job is a street-smart wolfwoman.

2. By day he's an entrepreneur hunting business deals. By night, John Faustus tears the flesh of those he hunts. Hey, it's not personal; it's just business. But will John change his ways when he learns he's gotten another werewolf pregnant?

3. Under the light of the full moon, Rod undergoes a horrifying and painful transformation, losing his humanity and replacing it with claws, teeth, fur, and a lust for blood, in a story unlike anything else ever writ-- What do you mean it's been done before? Crap.

4. When you hit puberty, you start growing hair in all kinds of places, but not as many as Jason McEwe. At first, it's kind of fun being the hairiest boy in school, but then the prettiest girl Jason has ever seen takes notice of him. Suddenly, Jason's no longer so keen on being the school mascot and is looking instead for a full-body electrolysis salon.

5. Werewolves, weredingos, werecats: it's a new world out there at night since the virus that turns creatures into hairy monsters has taken over. Sarah doesn't know it yet, but she's just inherited an amulet that will protect her and a silver bullet factory that will make her the heroine of her time--and rich beyond her wildest dreams.

6. Kiki has a problem. Every full moon, she hopes and prays things will change--that she'll be healthy, normal, and finally happy. But every month, to her horror, she stays human. Tired of being left out of the pack, Kiki decides to integrate into normal society. But can a girl used to identifying potential mates by smell handle clubbing and college?

7. Werewolf hunter Chug Conners has tracked his latest quarry to Benson, but when he discovers the small town is home to the werewolf king and his minions, he realizes he's going to need help. Possibly from the beautiful werewolf huntress known as . . . the Huntress!

8. Luna isn't rabid or dangerous, so why should she have to be quarantined with the other werewolves? She shouldn't, but even that would be better than what'll happen if the town's Civic Committee changes the law and gives wolfwomen the death penalty.

9. Successful game designer Brett is psyched about his new werewolf-based RPG - until he discovers he's offended the actual werewolf pack living in the local forest. Can he convince the lovely lycanthrope Leilani not to rip him to shreds? And can Brett handle a real adventure?

10. When Gemma the witch decides to open a nightclub for werewolves & vampires, everyone simply smiles. But the lichmaster who runs the zombie whorehouse isn't smiling, and soon, Gemma won't be, either. Can she save her dream?

11. Were-woman Cinnamon takes names and kicks butt as a wilderness guide through the urban subcultures of werewolves, were-panthers, were-hyenas and other preternaturals.

12. When Janet Watson let Tom, her blind date astronaut, kiss her cheek, she had no idea he was carrying a Martian neovirus. Two weeks later, her body is covered with orange fur, she has unnaturally keen senses of smell, hearing, and night vision, and all she wants is to stalk something and eat raw meat. So she heads for the subway.

13. Teenage runaway Andrew is easy prey for the predators of New York City until a female werewolf takes him in. As their relationship progresses, will the were-woman sense that Andrew isn't what he seems to be? Could he be . . . a weredingo?

14. Geneticists create wolf/man hybrids. Also known as werewolves. One thing leads to another and soon an inter-species war looms, threatening to destroy all life on Earth. Also, the usual shadow organization with its own agenda.

15. Violet the werewolf is having a bad day. Her brother has taken her best friend hostage, her sister's dead, ghosts are planning to slaughter her pack, and worst of all . . . hell, I don't even wanna talk about the fire.

16. Johnny Wilson tries to improve his love life through chemistry, but now he changes into something different every month. He's been a werewolf, a werellama, a werelion, a werevelociraptor.... Can he cure himself before his new girlfriend finds out?

17. Jack Hoboken could have put up with everyone in his family turning into wereanimals if it weren't for the gargantuan lobsters. Can he convince them to leave Hobokenstone Manor before he gets pincered? Plus, torch-wielding villagers.

18. Shortly after befriending Henry, Annie develops a disturbing craving for raw steak. Turns out she's become a werewolf, which creates tension in her home life as her family members wonder which will be the first to have their throat ripped out.

19. Gina knew she shouldn't be sleeping with her boss, especially when he's married and Lupe, his wife, is a wonderful person. But Lupe isn't Spanish. She isn't even human. And werewolves, like their mundane cousins, mate for life. Now Gina has to find an all-night gun store that sells silver bullets before she's found by . . . his wife, the enemy.

20. Although she was initially praised for her story about the government's cover-up of the weredingo invasion of Melbourne, journalist Tamilla Saopopo's facts are questioned, and boom! She's fired. Homeless and friendless, she goes on a road trip, runs out of gas in the bush, and falls in love with a guy who lives under a eucalyptus. He is actually, yes, the manliest weredingo in West Australia.

Answers below

To view the previous Werecreature Guess the Plot quiz, click the label at the bottom of the post.

The actual plots of minions' novels are:
1, 2, 8, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18

Face-Lift 709

Guess the Plot

The Pearl Keeper

1. Of all the elves who tried the patience of Lady Willifrill, the pesky thieving Pearl Keeper was her least favorite, but her views change when her son James brings his witchy girlfriend round. The evil wench must be disposed of, pronto, and how better to do it, than by making a pact with the elves?

2. Fern, Jasmine, and Daisy find the buried treasure map of little known Caribbean pirate Red Boots at a garage sale and go to Bermuda in search of his buried 'pearl keeper', never suspecting the map is a fake -- created for a reality TV show that got canceled because the top five contestants all vanished when they reached the X spot.

3. A pale green pearl and the words “When you are seventeen, all will unfold,” are all Amelia Salasquez has of her mother. Now fifteen, starving, cold, Amelia struggles to stay alive until seventeen and wonders how much she could get for the pearl. Enter, a boy with talking oysters...

4. As lamps are to genies, so is the pearl to a dragon. An evil alliance plans to use the pearl to enslave dragons and take over the world. Only one person has what it takes to lead the mages into battle against the alliance: a girl named Misha. Obviously we're doomed.

5. Senioc sings with the whales as he protects the oyster beds from the encroaching humans. When he accidentally saves Kanya, a pearl diver, he loses his voice. Is inter-species love worth his dream of becoming a diva?

6. Nissy is the mermaid in charge of keeping Neptune's oysters happily making fine pearls. When young Danny Banks dives too near the pearls, she stops him before Neptune can order him killed. Can she get him home without arousing the King's suspicions? Also, a rasta dolphin.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I'm seeking representation for The Pearl Keeper, set in a world where humans invented technology to compete with the more magically-savvy races and the great dragons aren't so great after all.

When sixteen-year-old Misha rescues an ungrateful drunk from an oncoming subway train, she never expected a boy would sacrifice his life to save her instead. [Instead of what? She did rescue the drunk, right?] Nor did she expect him to turn into water. [When someone turns into water, is it really necessary to state that this was unexpected?]

Her savior, Skyler, is a dragon. [He was a dragon; now he's a puddle.] Contrary to popular belief, dragons aren't big, stupid monsters that eat feather-brained virgins and get skewered by knights. They're a brilliant, ruthless race whose human forms are deceivingly mouthwatering. [Tasty.] [What's the deceiving part? Either their human forms are mouthwatering, or they aren't.] [I'd go with "dazzling" or "radiant" instead of mouthwatering.] They just have one weakness: the pearl. As the lamp is to a genie, the pearl is a literal ball and chain for a dragon. [I'm not sure you've grasped the meaning of "literal." Just say ...the pearl is to a dragon.] An evil alliance known as Pandora plans to enslave the dragon race for world domination and [all they need is a few thousand pearls the size of bulldozers.] according to some silly, old prophecy, only Misha can stop it.

Thanks, but no thanks. [Hey, that's my line.] There's no way she can lead a band of mighty mages to battle and she'd rather not have Skyler's fate--or the world's--rest in her shaky hands. [How does she know she's the person in the prophecy?] That is, until she finds out Pandora murdered her mother ten years ago and she's next. [They should have murdered her mother twenty years ago and saved themselves a lot of trouble.]

Now it's personal.

The Pearl Keeper is a YA urban fantasy complete at 90,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


What does this prophecy say? A band of mages will agree to be led into battle by a sixteen-year-old girl named Misha . . . no, not that Misha, the one who had the subway incident?

Does every dragon have a pearl, or is there one pearl that's the weakness of all dragons? Does Pandora already have the pearl(s) or are they searching? Does Misha have it? Why does Pandora want to kill Misha now, when they didn't want to ten years ago? Why don't they just swoop in, kill her, and take the pearl? Are the mages protecting her? We need to know at least some of these things.

All we know about dragons is that they're brilliant and ruthless and look like filet mignon when they're in human form. What are the powers they have that would carry Pandora to world domination?