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My name is S. Jae-Jones. I am a writer, an artist, and an adrenaline junkie. And she abandons her mind to obscure arts.

St. Martin’s New Adult Contest

Posted on 9 Nov 2009 in   Publishing by JJ
TEMPTED by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

TEMPTED by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Attention, writers! St. Martin’s Press is holding a contest for submissions. Yes, a contest hosted by yours truly to find books to publish. We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.”

The contest begins today on Monday, November 9 and ends Friday, November 20, 2009. Submissions will be taken online and read by JJ of the St. Martin ‘s Press editorial department and Georgia McBride, Founder and Host of #YAlitchat!

There are prizes! The top three submissions—1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, if you will—will receive a copy of TEMPTED by P.C. and Kristin Cast. There may be multiple winners of this contest, but a free book will go to the three I find the most interesting/appropriate for what we are looking for.

The Rules

  • One submission per author.
  • Fiction applicable to older teens and twentysomethings, please. For guidelines, the protagonist should be 18 or older, but 20s are preferred.
  • All works must be complete, edited, proofed and ready for submission upon request.
  • Submission must include author first name, email address, 2-3 sentence hook/pitch and first paragraph of story ONLY. Any additional content will be discarded.

How It Works

Submissions are reviewed by the Editorial Department at St. Martin ‘s Press and Georgia McBride, Founder and Host of #Yalitchat. Based on the criteria defined by St. Martin’s Press; submissions are assessed and if we are interested in seeing more, authors are contacted via the email provided in the submission and a partial (first 50 pages) of your manuscript will be requested.

Your manuscript should be edited, proofed and ready for submission. If the editorial team at St. Martin ‘s Press would like to see more of your manuscript after reading your partial, they will request the remainder of your manuscript. Please make sure that your manuscript is properly formatted, spell-checked and ready to go.

Winners

Winners in this “contest” are those who submit and are asked to have their manuscript submitted for consideration by St. Martin ‘s Press. Ideally, a book deal would come of it, but we have no guarantees. The goal is to give as many #Yalitchat writers an opportunity to have their work considered.

Disclaimer: St. Martin’s Press does not guarantee to publish the material requested and cannot be held liable for a book published through St. Martin’s Press with similar content to any submission from the “New Adult” Contest sponsored by #YAlitchat.

Comment here to enter. Good luck!

333 Responses to St. Martin’s New Adult Contest

  1. Katie McGarry 20 Nov 2009 at 10:31 pm #

    Pitch:

    Eighteen year old Violet’s beauty and charm makes her a prized possession in a world full of power hungry, driven politicians. She discovers the perfectly manicured future her parents have crafted isn’t set in stone when she refuses the attempts of the grandson of a United States Senator. Pierced, tattooed, and the epitome of her families greatest fears, nineteen year old Judah Brooks rescues Violet and the two have to decide whether to let their pasts dictate who they are or if they alone decide their future.

    First Paragraph:
    Violet Newman lost count of how many men used the same pathetic pick up line on her during the evening. She completely ignored the drunken idiot as he slurred the line to her one more time. “You’re so beautiful, baby. Come on, just one drink.”

  2. Christina Early 20 Nov 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    Pitch: Just because Izabel Rivera was the youngest to graduate from Scorpio, the galaxy’s top school for spies and assassins, doesn’t mean she’s good at her job. When her communications assignment goes south, she not only has to deal with her impending termination (the consequences of yet another failure), but she also has to deal with someone impersonating her dead older brother, a man she can’t decide if she should kill or sex up, and an old friend who wants her help with his heretical theory about the origins of Homo sapiens. Her new assignment, to assassinate the high ranking Imperial, Daryl Cook, is just what she needs to prove she isn’t a failure and that she’s worthy of the name Scorpio.

    First Paragraph: Sombra Alara wasn’t who I was; she was who I had to be. As Scorpio, I was expected to change names as easily as I changed clothes. After failing my last assignment, they gave me the name Sombra Alara. It meant either “ruler of all shadows” or “shadow ruler of all.” Take your pick; it was just a name.

  3. Jennifer Schwabach 20 Nov 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    Pitch:
    When the Union, a small, peaceful nation with limited technology but rich mineral resources, is invaded by the stronger, more powerful Empire of Scheszit, it is up to an Airmage named Nila and a local Sheriff named Marat to fight the invaders. What do you do when your enemy out-numbers you by a thousand to one, and out-guns you by, well, lots of guns to none at all? You use what you have. Wits, home-ground advantage and, of course, a bit of magic.

    First Paragraph:

    Nila of the Second Rank of Air shivered as she walked along the dark main street of Forest’s Edge. Even here, in the southern reaches of the Union, the Spring evening had a chill to it. The breeze was northerly, and that added to the chill. Her white and grey robes were whipped against her legs as the breeze picked up, becoming a real wind. A storm was brewing, and that meant trouble. Soon, no doubt, she would be summoned to the Elder’s house to discuss that she planned to do about the Spring storms.

  4. Adriana Jackson 20 Nov 2009 at 10:52 pm #

    Pitch:
    Amanda Evans had no clue that a quick detour into her favorite New Age shop would be the catalyst to turning her world upside down. Instead of getting incense she got crazy warnings from an eccentric old psychic, and instructions for performing a ritual that unlocks stolen memories from her past; revealing to her a life long connection to Arius, an incubus, and the first born son of Lucifer himself. When the dust settles she learns that denial can’t protect you from demons, friends aren’t always what they seem, and fate’s a bully waiting to kick you in the face.

    First Paragraph:
    I awoke in a pool of sweat without the faintest idea of what I’d done the night before, and any memory of my dreams were foggy at best. I was stinky, I had a headache, and an annoying sharp pain in my loins that was indicative of a much more interesting night than I was used to having on Thursdays alone in my apartment. I was in an utter state of confusion, so much so that I found myself playing detective. I checked my phone, no one had called, I had called no one, there were no random empty bottles of tequila in the kitchen so that ruled out the possibility that I may have gotten drunk and called an ex for ‘comfort’. I checked all of my locks and doors…..everything seemed to be in order. I’d often thought myself to be excessively paranoid, and tried to calm my brain as it ran through scenarios of a nighttime intrusion and assault that I had somehow managed to sleep through. But as soon as those thoughts came, I realized that this freak out was probably the result of watching way too much lifetime that week. If that was the only time it happened, I never would have thought it was anything more than a fluke, but that wasn’t the first time I’d woken up with what can only be described as a sex hangover without any memory of the events that may have caused it.

  5. Name (required)Laurel 20 Nov 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    Pitch:
    Courting The Pawn in a 100,000 word completed fantasy romance.

    Bound by his ancestor to restore their land’s power stone, a young man with the hereditary gift of jumping learns the surly witch sent to guard him has been ordered to steal the crystal wand. He wants to escape her, but his family ghosts insist the sorceress’ servant accompany him on a quest during which they become more than friends and he must choose between his first love and defending his land.

    Paragraph:
    The ramshackle cottages of the Ignis peasants lined the road and as I passed it heartened me to see the people headed for work in the fields. Several gave me friendly waves as the wind and dawn chased away the morning fog. Our poor people. My poor people now. “’Tis a hard burden to bear,” I muttered. The words held a poignant edge now that I’d never hear my Da utter them again, but never did quite explain why I had fallen into the hands of the fates being born the seventh son following Horatius’ son’s bollixed mess. Literally. “Couldn’t Evin have kept his rod in his pants?”

  6. Nancy 20 Nov 2009 at 11:22 pm #

    Title:
    PEKING DUCK: THE PORTRAIT OF A MARRIAGE

    Pitch:
    Chinese fortune cookie messages can sometimes seem ironic, when the couple opening them in their favorite Chinese restaurant in Midwest America has high expectations, but totally different perceptions of the events occurring in their relationship. These events are experienced from the distinct viewpoint of either Richard or Darla, in each alternating chapter, and each chapter is introduced by a message from a fortune cookie. Your fortune: A pleasant surprise is in store for you.

    First Paragraph:

    I. Chinese fortune cookie message: “Happiness is across the table from you.”

    It all began, as a great many romances do, in a Chinese restaurant. Richard Kendrick, not an impulsive man by nature, had finally gotten up the nerve to ask Darla Wimple out on a date after months of staring fixedly at the back of her slender neck in the Northwestern University Library. To his utter amazement, Darla agreed, although “why on earth she’d want to be seen in public with a clod like me” was beyond Richard’s comprehension.

  7. Lisa 20 Nov 2009 at 11:34 pm #

    Pitch:

    An unexpected birthday present is about to throw Sabrina McCarthy’s life
    into chaos. And unlike the latest iPod, her deceased Grandma Lila isn’t
    returnable.

    When a long forgotten family legend proved true, Sabrina never guessed that
    Lila, her loving grandmother was about to become her meddling sidekick
    straight from he other side. With Lila’s penchant for disrupting everything
    from Sabrina’s work to her love life, Sabrina’s certain she’s soon to become
    Vegas’ number one dating disaster. To make matters worse, mysterious hottie,
    Logan Hunter manages to appear everytime Sabrina’s in trouble. But Sabrina’s
    finding it hard to tell who’s human and who’s not. Throw in a ghost club
    where the two worlds collide and Sabrina finds life as Sin City’s newest
    Vegas Whisperer is far more chaotic than she could ever have imagined.

    Paragraph:
    “Am I dead?” Sabrina McCarthy asked.
    Of course, she had to be.
    That was her dearly departed grandmother Lila at the foot of her bed, amongst the swirling translucent pale blue, almost white mist.
    Even her beloved canine protector Buddy wasn’t barking at the sudden intruder. Nope, the lhasa apso was still sound asleep at her side, happily snoring the night away.
    So this was it.
    She was dead.
    Passed over into the great beyond.
    And apparently missed that big bright light show everyone always talked about.

  8. Jo 20 Nov 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    Pitch:
    Genevieve O’Malley should be a normal senior in college, living with her older brother Kieran as he finishes his residency in neurosurgery. Her life starts to change when Kieran starts dating Rowena, and becomes close with her older brother Marcus, another resident.
    There’s something not quite right about those two. And Genevieve is determined to find out. Before she loses her brother. Or her life.

    First Paragraph:
    I remember hearing Mom telling her best friend, Miss Betsy, from next door, “Oh, hon, every child goes thought a phase where he or she has an imaginary friend, your little tyke will be just fine.”

    Mine was Euphemie. A tiny thing with black hair and eyes and an old fashioned dress, she made sure I was up in time for school, laid out my clothes for me in the morning while I slept, and kept my room tidy. I adored her. When I was especially well behaved she would sing me to sleep. I knew better than to tell my parents about her presence in my room. They would not have understood. I may have been seven at the time, but I wasn’t stupid. When they died in a car crash driving back from Thanksgiving dinner, Miss Betsy and Mr. Dan took me in after the hospital released me, and adopted me as one of their own. I became Genevieve O’Malley and gained in addition to a new set of devoted parents, a bossy older brother named Kieran. Euphemie warned me not to get too comfortable, although she liked the O’Malley’s just fine. As usual, she was right. four years later, when Kieran and I were at a church camp out; they died in a plane crash. Kieran was 21, had just finished college, and moved me in to the extra bedroom in his apartment. We’ve been together ever since. I took care of the practical things, like paying the insurance and rent, and he held me together like Atlas. I couldn’t tell him what kept me awake in the middle of the night. He wouldn’t have understood, either, as normal twenty-one year olds did not have problems like this. Only Euphemie did. Someone was looking for me. And I could hear them searching in my dreams. At least twice a month, I had the same nightmare. I was being hunted; stumbling through a fog shrouded forest, and hid behind a massive oak during a thunderstorm. I could feel the rain slicing against my skin, the mud that squished between my bare feet as I ran. Worst of all, I could hear the group chasing me, one voice in particular swore that one day he’d make me his. As if. Euphemie warned me to never answer. She held my hand in the fog as I shook. Euphemie rocked.

  9. Everett 20 Nov 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    Title: The Art Critics

    Pitch: At an art opening in a prestigious New Orleans gallery, Jack Jessup (age 26) and his good buddy, Gilbert Tamarack, learn the hard way that is best not to criticize paintings at an art opening, even if the artist just painted them the week before and the art space reeks of paint fumes. THE ART CRITICS is a 70,000 word, humor-adventure novel that follows Jack Jessup on his own personal voyage of discovery, when he reluctantly leaves the “Crescent City” and sets out on an unforgettable odyssey.

    First paragraph:

    They call me Poor William, but in reality my real name is William Orrville Lafayette, the third. And please don’t call me “Po” William. OK. Although originally from southern Illinois, Paducah to be exact, I now call New Orleans my home. I came here twenty years ago and have never been able to leave. You might say the place is addictive. And I’m not talking about substance abuse here. It’s like it’s about the “Big Easy” mentality that is so prevalent here. Everybody has the disease, or at least a touch of it – including myself. And another thing, back then not too many people called this place the “Big Easy”, it was just black slang. But then the movie came out and everybody started usin’ that term.

  10. Monica Enderle Pierce 21 Nov 2009 at 12:07 am #

    PITCH:

    Can Matilde Royce, a young Edwardian Catholic wife and mother, retain her humanity in the face of her own bloodthirsty sins? Or will her unstoppable cravings make her the queen in a deadly game between her allies and her enemies?

    PREYERS’ heroine follows in the footsteps of Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE, hand-in-hand with THE MILLENIUM GUARDIAN’S Brigit.

    FIRST PARAGRAPH:

    In all my lonely years haunting Siam’s humid jungles, it never crossed my mind that I was something other than the loathsome spawn of Hell. Now, I stood in the muddy river shallows covered in a dead crocodile’s blood, astonished to find a man watching me from the riverbank’s evening shadows. I neither heard nor sensed his approach and, until that moment, no creature had come upon me with the element of surprise in its favor.

  11. Lily Iona MacKenzie 21 Nov 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    Drawn to outcasts, mirrors of herself, Cinch leaves home at 15 and lives on the fringes, one of the original groupies to a couple of rock bands. She also hangs out for a while with a houseful of artists who believe in free love. But Cinch is resilient and keeps her sense of humor in spite of the problems she encounters—abandonment, pregnancy, drugs, illegitimacy. Her life depends on it.

    I turned fifteen that fall. Mama agreed I should quit school. I already knew how to type. I could read and write. What more was there to learn? I soon understood why Mama didn’t mind me dropping out. She was moving to Vancouver with her boyfriend Maurice La Blanc: “He’s got itchy feet,” she said.
    My feet got pretty itchy too when I heard the news. I might not have been motivated to do much in high school, but I sure was now. Her leaving was a wake-up call. I was on my own.

  12. Christauna R. Asay 21 Nov 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    Christauna R. Asay
    Title: 12th Dimension R.A.G.E.

    Pitch:
    U.S. Army Specialist Kris Rose has been accused of murder. Not just one murder but the brutal massacre of over two hundred and thirty six citizens of an alternate dimension of Earth. So why can’t she remember it happening in her lifetime? Because it didn’t.

    First Paragraph:
    Thwump!
    A boot planted itself in my spine just as my hand touched the outer door of the Special Forces armory. Flung forward into the metal door frame, my arm and shoulder took the brunt of the impact, striking the unlatched door and forcing it open with a rattling thud. I tried to remain on my feet but the forward momentum carried me down the two concrete steps, my hand and elbow skidding across cement with great stinging abrasions while my hip bit the edge of one of the stairs, my left temple meeting the sidewalk.

  13. Edwin D Ferretti III 21 Nov 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    I received your contest notice dated 21 Nov 2009. This made it impossible to submit my New Adult manuscript. When will you hold another contest? My protagonist is twenty-one and will appeal to the YA of 1930’s to the present. A description of my completed manual is on my blog.
    Sincerely
    David

  14. Chazley 21 Nov 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    Chazley
    chazley.dotson@yahoo.com

    When Nicole convinces a disreputable old wandmaster to take her on as an apprentice, she thinks that she has succeeded, but the year of grueling study and dangerous tasks is just beginning. She and the other apprentices must dive for deadly mer-lion whiskers, search river deltas for hideous, boil-covered squonks, and cut screaming reeds in the middle of an ancient forest. Not all of the apprentices will succeed; a few won’t survive.

    The Wandmaker’s Apprentice

    In the light that trickled through the workshop’s windows, a man polished a thin, dark wand. As her eyes adjusted, she could see the inscriptions etched in circles from the wand’s handle to its tip, symbols carved deep enough to last for a lifetime. This was the last address on the list.

  15. Chazley 21 Nov 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    Ah, my apologies. I did not see the cut off time.

  16. Lisa Preston 21 Nov 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    In THE SECRET TRUTH, Olivia discovers the terrible power of knowledge when she learns her father has a second family. To preserve her family’s façade, she struggles to keep his bigamy a secret but ultimately reveals the deception in a moment of anger and weakness. Long misperceiving her mother as a weak victim, in the final pages Olivia comes to recognize the woman’s quiet strength and dignity.

    THE SECRET TRUTH
    At first, I imagined how many of them I could kill. Plenty of them. My father. My mother. Others too, of course. I’d have to do the others first, before I came home and handled things there. But then my little brother wouldn’t have parents, so I’d have to kill him, too. Cricket is nine and I have no idea how someone kills a nine-year-old.

  17. Name (required)Clare Di Liscia Baird 22 Nov 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    While on vacation at her uncle’s farm in North Carolina, Nellie Albright and her cousin Peter, are caught behind enemy lines as the southern stWhile on vacation at her uncle’s farm in North Carolina, Nellie Albright and her cousin Peter, are caught behind enemy lines as the southern states are attacked and decimated. The government and remaining unaffected states offer no assistance as a make-shift marshal law takes over. Mayhem and destruction prevail as half the population is either missing or dead. The two teenagers fight desperately to stay alive, not be captured and reach Nellie’s ten year old brother Owen who’s in camp hundreds of miles away. ates are attacked and decimated. The government and remaining unaffected states offer no assistance as a make-shift marshal law takes over. Mayhem and destruction prevail as half the population is either missing or dead. The two teenagers fight desperately to stay alive, not be captured and reach Nellie’s ten year old brother Owen who’s in camp hundreds of miles away.

  18. Name (required)Clare Di Liscia Baird 22 Nov 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    While on vacation at her uncle’s farm in North Carolina, Nellie Albright and her cousin Peter, are caught behind enemy lines as the southern states are attacked and decimated. The government and remaining unaffected states offer no assistance as a make-shift marshal law takes over. Mayhem and destruction prevail as half the population is either missing or dead. The two teenagers fight desperately to stay alive, not be captured and reach Nellie’s ten year old brother Owen who’s in camp hundreds of miles away. ates are attacked and decimated. The government and remaining unaffected states offer no assistance as a make-shift marshal law takes over. Mayhem and destruction prevail as half the population is either missing or dead. The two teenagers fight desperately to stay alive, not be captured and reach Nellie’s ten year old brother Owen who’s in camp hundreds of miles away.

  19. day_forex 24 Nov 2009 at 1:46 pm #

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  20. Name Rick (required) 25 Nov 2009 at 12:23 am #

    The Oldsmobile was running on fumes, and we nearly coasted into the Mobil station off I-35 just outside of Lamoni. Chet shut off the ignition and turned to me, “Well, Steve, what’s in the bank?”

  21. Alexe Termini 25 Nov 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    Imagine this.. The sun is setting. You have the chilly wind blowing over you, making your long white hair whip wildly. The sun filling your white irises with that same peach color. You smell the city aroma laced with the wind. A bird soars feet above you, while your feet are dangling over the edge of the building. The cars are honking and making there way through the city about 20 stories below you.

    Yeah.. Are you freaking out? I’m not. This is just end to another day…

    “This girl is crazy!” You might be thinking. I’m not crazy, I’m just experienced. I’ve got many years behind me, despite my young stature.

    How many? I actually have no clue. I can only remember 100 years or so back before things get cloudy.

    I know you have a lot of questions. I’ll try and answer a few basic ones. The ‘who-what-where’ series.

    Who: I’m Aurora Ricker-Vince.

    What: A very broad question.. I’m a humanoid-figure being, but not human. I’m Immortal. I also have Psychic powers. I can pretty much do anything.

    Where: Am I from? No idea.. I am a wander, a renegade, a free-lancer.

    When: Was I born? Again, I don’t know.

    Why: Why am I here? No idea. It’s what you humans look for too right? Well, send me a letter, telegram, phone call, e-mail, text message, instant message, or what ever method of contact you wish.

    How: Do I exist? Do I use my powers? Am I immortal? Again, I seek those answers, but cannot find them.

    You see, since I cannot die, and I have never been injured, I do things most people don’t do. i just do them forever

  22. Name (required)Donna Fawcett 10 Dec 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    Gillian Stewart has taken up ranching in spite of her father’s pessimism. She is determined to make it in a man’s world–without a man’s help. When her foals begin to die Gillian finds herself relying on the help of Constable Brent Shantz of the RCMP. His faith and gentle affection show her that not all men see women as her father does. Gillian finds herself caught in a trap of deception. Can she trust Brent to find her? Can she believe in the God that leads him? Can she overcome a past of abuse to find joy in life?

  23. Brooke Morris 22 Jun 2010 at 2:48 am #

    i always use leg warmers during the winter months to feel comfy.*’-

  24. Bella Simpson 1 Oct 2010 at 10:37 am #

    Pretty cool site you’ve got here. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

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  25. Curtain Panels  12 Oct 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    leg warmers keep me warm when travelling on buses on a cold stormy night~,`

  26. Martha Ramirez 10 Nov 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Trapped in a cell sucks. Especially when you’re a stubborn immortal. But nothing is worse than falling for a forbidden blood while trying to save your mother from imprisonment.

    First paragraph:

    If death meant the end of all things, then maybe the end was what Lucienne needed. The end to living a captive life, and be in charge of her own destiny for once. Being a freak sucks. Really sucks.

    ~Martha Ramirez

  27. Jeremiah Semien 21 Dec 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    You can read this stoy that I wrote a short story collection, in which anyone from your company can read, and my books are in amazon.com,and all anyone has to do, it type my first, and last name, to see my books.

  28. Amelia 31 Dec 2010 at 12:51 am #

    Why is there such an under-representation of male protagonists?? Now there’s an untapped market.

  29. Sana Eschbaugh 1 Apr 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Thank You for this article and please allow me to have the possibility to express my satisfaction with Host Gator web hosting. They have professional and express support and they also offering some HostGator discount coupons.

  30. Dianna 8 Nov 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Pitch: Time is running out. If Haley does not find a way to sort truth from lie – Earth and Parallax, a second world that has been drawn into its gravitational pull, will collide and leave mankind at the not-so-tender mercies of the ghouls and phantoms – the invasion has already begun.

    1st chpt: The sharp rattle of stones and soft scratching of claws sent Halie into the meager shelter offered by the dark entry alcove of the boarded-up and abandoned bakery shop at her back. Shielding her eyes and face against the shower of loose sand swirling around, she tried to see into the deep shadows shrouding the old buildings and the roof-tops surrounding her. To her dismay the breeze ruffling her hair carried the sharp, musky scent of a big cat.

  31. Destiny 1 Jan 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Life as I know it is a bore. I have a husband that barely realizes I exist and lately I have been having weird dreams of my past and I have a feeling that my life is about to drastically change. I am going crazy as my life becomes more and more unraveled.

    Gently his hands ran the length of my body causing me to shiver. His body was hard against mine I could feel his warm breath at the top of my spine. I didn’t need to turn from the window to know he was smiling.

  32. Neal 21 Aug 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Paid To Die
    This is based on the true life exploits of the bodyguard for the infamous British punk rock band, The Sex Pistols, during their first American tour (1978). It is fictionalized and very funny but very, very crude (punk rockish).

    Paragraph: Chapter One

    Showdown At The Sundance Saloon

    It was a border town not too unlike any other old west ghost town. The musk of horses mingled with the smoke of stale cigarettes drifting out from the clapboard, ramshackle storefronts that even in their day were ruins in the making. The rotting boardwalk stood over a foot above the dusty street and in the vacant lot at the head of the main street leading into town, among the mustard grass and tumbleweeds, stood an old Conestoga wagon. Its canvas cover long since returned to the soil and its over sized wheels now only fit as gate decorations for some sprawling hacienda. It was emblazoned along its broad side with large, decorative painted letters so weathered as to appear to have been a natural formation within the tree from which the wagon was hewed. The letters spelled out the words, Calabasas, The Last Of The Old West.

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