ISO CP, Beta Reader, and/or MS Swap for YA Psychological Suspense w/ Paranormal Elements

Hello!

I’ve been writing for a while. I have my MFA in Creative Writing and briefly had an agent – right before I went on submission he quit agenting, so that was a bummer. I have yet to secure myself another agent. I’ve finished a YA suspense with paranormal elements and am looking for some feedback. I’m happy to swap a chapter first to see if we’re a good fit. Then we can go chapter-by-chapter or do a full manuscript swap.

I also have some other YA and Middle Grade projects I’d like to work on when I have a chance. I have two young daughters, and we’re living in a pandemic, so free time for me is at a minimum.

I live in the DC suburbs. I like to read anything suspenseful. It doesn’t have to be a mystery or thriller (though I do enjoy those), as long as it keeps me turning pages. I’m totally fine with the darker side of things, and I’m open to anything set in our world, or set in our world with elements of fantasy. I’m not the best reader for high fantasy, stuff set in space, or anything with lots of battle scenes.

I’ll paste my query and the first page of my manuscript below. Reach out if you think we’d be a good fit!

-Eva

QUERY:
When Natalie agrees to do a midnight ritual with a boy who thinks he’s a witch, she doesn’t actually believe it’ll help find her missing friend. But something does happen— a strange out-of-body experience she can’t quite explain.

A week later, Natalie wakes up in the middle of the night, standing at the gates of Oakdale Cemetery. Her vivid nightmares from childhood are coming back, too. The angry Russian lady. The ballerina covered in blood. Is all of this weirdness somehow connected to the ritual?

Then Natalie blacks out at a party and wakes up hours later in the back of a taxi— with no memory of where she was or what she was doing. Her only clues are three hundred dollars cash in her purse and a new contact named “T” in her phone.

She goes to see T, hoping for answers, and he gives her a brown paper bag. When she sees what’s inside, she realizes just how much danger she’s in. She has got to figure out what’s going on and make it stop… before someone ends up dead.

I’M NOT MYSELF TODAY is paranormal-suspense novel for fans of Lauren Oliver, Jennifer McMahon, and Kit Frick.

FIRST PAGE:
Natalie so doesn’t want to be here, walking in the dark, following creepy Kash Korban down the sidewalk towards the elementary school. I could tell them I don’t feel good , she thinks. But then what? Walk back to Hailey’s house by herself? No thanks.

A nervous feeling is bubbling in Natalie’s stomach, and her other senses seem heightened in the dark: the hot breath of summer air on her skin, the crickets chirping in the trees, the sweet perfume of jasmine from someone’s front yard. Above them the sky is clear, and the moon is nearly overhead, big and round and strangely bright.

“What is it we’re doing exactly?” Hailey asks Kash. She swipes her blond hair off her neck and pulls it into a high ponytail with a practiced swoop.

“Well, it’s complicated,” Kash says, leading the way. Despite the muggy heat, he’s wearing a black t-shirt, black jeans, and a pair of clomping motorcycle boots. Natalie can smell his sour body odor from a few feet away.

“I considered doing the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram,” he says, “but I’m not great at traditional ceremonial magic. I’m more of a chaos magician, to be honest, and I dabble in faerie magic.”

“Faerie magic?” Hailey echoes.

“But we’re doing a ritual, right?” Natalie asks. “Like… witchcraft?”

“Yes, Natalie.” He looks over his shoulder at her briefly. “We’re doing witchcraft.”

Hi Eva,

I don’t know if you are still looking for a swap or if you are open to other genres, but I have a contemporary YA manuscript finished that I could use another set of eyes on. I read pretty much anything except erotica and disturbing horror that involves small children. I haven’t yet read a ton of paranormal, so I probably couldn’t give you genre-specific feedback, but I did recently beta read a YA suspense for my sister-in-law. Violence and dark themes are okay, just no small children as villains if that makes sense. From your description, your book sounds fine.

I don’t have a snappy blurb written for mine yet, but it is about two very different students who get thrust together in a scholarship contest. Steve is trying to break all ties with his absent mother. Alejandra goes behind her father’s back to find out more about her mother’s death. The general theme is about moving on.

Let me know if you are interested in swapping first chapters to start. My email is cchansenwriter@gmail.com.

Hi Eva!
If you haven’t already found a lot of other people to beta read your manuscript, I’d love to help! At this point I probably wouldn’t be a crit “partner” because I am just starting to work on my new MG novel, so I wouldn’t be asking you to read my work, but I am trying to get a bigger community of writer-friends since I mostly work in isolation, and so if you’d want an extra beta reader I’m available!

I’m a wide reader and love fantasy, and like good and well written horror. If you want me to take a look at your manuscript reply to this post and I’ll send you my email address.

Happy hunting!
Samantha

Hi Samantha,

I got several CPs from my post. I’m now actually trying to figure out how to delete my post, but I can’t figure it out! Anyway, I think I”m good for now, but I will keep your email on file. I have an idea for a MG novel I’d like to write myself sometime soon, so we might be good CPs on down the road.

I’ll keep in touch!
Eva