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I love contests!

In the past few months, I've had some amazing contest experiences. My middle grade novel, MOM WARS, won an honorable mention in the 2014 Rate Your Story contest. And I entered #Pitmad for the first time and had several requests for my other completed middle grade novel, THE COMIC ADVENTURES OF RUBY BELLA BROWN.

I'm grateful for the chance to enter another contest today--The Writer's Voice. It's a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Brenda Drake, Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Kimberly P. Chase, and Elizabeth Briggs.

Here’s my entry!

MOM WARS – 34,000 word humorous middle grade novel

Twelve year-old Jennifer Lauren Michaels longs to be part of a real family—living in a house with both parents, a sibling, and a pet. Instead, she and Mom have a tiny apartment they can barely afford. They constantly battle over money for much-needed clothes and Jennifer’s quest to contact Dad. The only way to survive without screaming back and getting grounded for life is throwing invisible food at Mom.

An unexpected babysitting job with two wacky kids and a ballerina guinea pig opens up a whole new world for her…especially when she discovers that the most hottielicious guy in the universe lives next door. But devastation strikes when Jennifer learns that her first-ever kiss (with the hottie) happened for the wrong reason. The sorta cute and totally sweet guy she started to depend on suddenly seems to have a dark side. And her search to find Dad unravels a mystery check and shocking secrets. Jennifer must decide if she’s going to escape back into her imaginary food-throwing fantasies, or finally find a way to dig beneath the surface to see things the way they really are.  

MOM WARS - First 250 words

I dump my school stuff out of last year’s semi-holey backpack and open my drawers. Empty. Empty. Empty. Except for a pair of stretched-out sweats and a bra so tight it makes me look like I have four boobs.

Better find something to pack. Fast!

“Come here,” Mom calls. “I have a surprise for you.”

I dance into the den. I knew my twenty page list of reasons why I should go to South Carolina with Kelly would change Mom’s mind.

“I don’t want you to be bored all summer, soooooooo—”

“I’m going with Kelly. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I give Mom a gigantic hug. She just stands there.

Uh oh.

My stomach flip-flops.

“You know we can’t afford it.”

“It won’t cost anything. They’re driving and—”

“I already said no.”


Wham! She slams a dog-eared magazine on the chipped computer table. “I’m not pawning you off on another family for the summer. This discussion is over.”

My entire body shakes. I can’t believe she’s doing this to me. “I bet Dad would let me go.” Omigod, did I say that out loud?

Veins pulse on Mom’s forehead. “DON’T. MENTION. HIM. AGAIN!”

Breathe. Bite my lip. Breathe. Bite my lip.

“You’re NOT going. One more word about it, you’ll be grounded for a month.”

She’s always punishing me. Trying to erase Dad.

Don’t scream. Don’t scream. Don’t scream. There’s only one way to stay out of trouble when she makes me this mad.

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( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 2nd, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
Writer's Voice
This sounds hilarious! Great voice, great start! Good luck in the contest!
May. 3rd, 2014 03:17 am (UTC)
Re: Writer's Voice
Thanks. :)
May. 2nd, 2014 02:29 pm (UTC)
You have such a neat voice, Mindy! :)
May. 3rd, 2014 03:17 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, Robin! :)
May. 3rd, 2014 10:00 am (UTC)
This is such a cute and funny opener, and I love how it also has those hints of doom to come. What a perfect MG package! One teeny formatting thing: it looks like there's a return missing before the line, "It won't cost anything ..." (at least in my browser). Best of luck with this!
May. 3rd, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you, thank you, thank you--both for the praise and for noticing the missing return. I have no idea what's up with LJ, but it took me over an hour to format this. I kept getting weird white boxes around a few paragraphs, error messages saying the post is too long (which is isn't) and strange code showing up when I previewed it. I had to keep cutting/pasting/deleting/retyping like crazy trying to get it to look right. The 250 words still looks lighter, but nothing I've tried will make it match the rest, even though I copied it from the same file.

I can't wait to check out your entry later today. :)
May. 3rd, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC)
Such a fun concept and voice! Wishing you the best of luck in the contest, Mindy!
May. 4th, 2014 12:47 am (UTC)
Thanks! Good luck to you, too. :)
May. 4th, 2014 12:27 pm (UTC)
This is totally tween and the voice is great. You had me at "hottielicious." : )

Best wishes!
-- Sarah Floyd
May. 4th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
I recognize your name/pic from the BB's!
Love the voice here- makes the story come to life!
Good luck to you in your agent search!
May. 4th, 2014 10:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Sarah. :)
May. 4th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Are you in the contest, too? You came up as Anonymous, so I'm not sure who you are. If you entered, good luck to you, too. And let me know so I can peek at your entry!
May. 5th, 2014 03:19 pm (UTC)
Hi Mindy,
I was surprised when my name came up Anonymous. I actually came back and took a look at your query because I think it's so fun and snappy and I'm still trying to figure out a way to get an agent's attention!
My name's MiriamSpitzerFranklin if you want to check mine out and offer any advice! Thanks!
May. 6th, 2014 04:05 am (UTC)
I think it comes up Anonymous if you don't have an LJ or use Twitter, Facebook, etc. to log in before commenting. I'm so glad you came back.

Thanks so much for the compliment! I can't wait to read your entry. :)
May. 6th, 2014 02:03 am (UTC)
Nice. Strong start
Good luck in the contest!

May. 6th, 2014 04:05 am (UTC)
Re: Nice. Strong start
Thanks! :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


Mindy's head shot
Mindy Alyse Weiss
I write humorous middle-grade novels with heart and quirky picture books.

I'm an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, the FL SCBWI Newsletter Editor and Critique Group Coordinator, and a proud member of From The Mixed Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors

I've been married for twenty years and have two beautiful daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix pup who was rescued from the Everglades.

I've been published in Highlights three times and placed in the 80th Writer's Digest Competition.


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