Here is my entry into The Writer’s Voice Contest! Having missed the 9am window by a few seconds I’ll be rushing to submit this at 9 tonight.
Plot outline from query letter:
Eleven-year-old Thelma Bee might turn red as cherries when she’s embarrassed, but she’s no wallflower. Thelma has adventure in her blood. There’s not a whole lot of opportunity for exploration in her hometown of Riverfish, MA, though, so she and her best friend Alexander Oldtree are often left to their own devices – with mixed results. The full-scale Viking Longship, for example, was a magnificent flop.
But one October night, Thelma’s sixth grade year takes a turn for the peculiar. A ghostly visitor kidnaps her father, leaving her alone and scared to death. Her only clue is a centuries-old jewelry box and one cryptic word the ghost whispered into her ear: “Return”.
She’s got to get her dad back. Soon the adventurer-in-training is drawn into a world where her family tree unfolds a mystery that’s more extraordinary than anything her imagination could concoct. With her team of amateur ghost hunters, Thelma delves deep into the New England woods where the lines between folklore and reality become dangerously blurry. To save her family and friends, she must find the bravery to overcome a dark magic that has stalked her ancestors for centuries…and discover just what she’s made of.
First 250 of THELMA BEE:
Chapter One: A Twitchy Visitor
Thelma Bee had short confident bangs, a heavy red backpack, and no idea that a very strange thing was about to find her. When the final bell of the school day rang that Wednesday afternoon, she closed her eyes and the sound transformed into a celebration of mariachi trumpets. Just one more school day until the long-long weekend. She busted out of the front door with the excitement that only 2:30 p.m. can bring, and navigating a path through a weird-smelling ocean of middle-schoolers, Thelma set a course for her dad’s antique shop.
Mr. Henry Bee was the proud proprietor of Bee’s Very Unusual Antiques – which was, in Thelma’s opinion, a bit of false advertising. Sometimes they sold items that were quite ordinary, like an old chipped mug, and sometimes they sold things that were not antique at all, like Mrs. Edelstein’s homemade cookies. Maybe, she thought, the shop should be named something more like Bee’s Very Unusual Antiques and Also Some Very Normal Antiques and Also Cookies. Not very catchy, but honest.
“Hey Dad!” She threw down her backpack and plopped herself on an overstuffed avocado and orange colored chair from the 1970s.
“Hey kiddo!” hollered Henry.
He emerged from his workshop in a worn-out brown apron. Henry Bee sported the kind of thick eyeglasses that were fashionable in the 1950’s, as he had a passion for the old and unique. Once a journalist for the American Post, Henry traveled the globe reporting on strange occurrences from Albany to Antarctica.