Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Writer's Voice Entry: JETSTAR FIGHTER PILOT


Seventeen year-old Reeka Pendleton and her brother Dek have three rules: stick together, trust no one, and always go back for each other. When Dek is Recruited for the fighter pilot program at the JetStar Academy, the toughest, all-male school in their galaxy and disappears, Reeka finds their last rule difficult to follow. With the constant threat from the Iorge, a division of humanity intent on erasing all emotions from the population to create super soldiers, Reeka's options to find Dek are severely limited.

But Reeka is unable to stand by, and decides that she is going to join the Academy and track down her brother. Seizing an opportunity to be one of four female Recruits for the Academy, it is Reeka's chance to figure out what happened to Dek, and to get a taste of the skies. Her commanding officer, Bentley, who is Dek's friend, seems to know more about Dek's disappearance than he's willing to reveal.

With chauvinistic classmates wanting to beat her down and in the skies at every turn, Reeka must prove that she's meant for the Academy, and find out what Dek was really involved with before the imminent war with the Iorge explodes, and he is gone forever. 

JETSTAR FIGHTER PILOT is an 80,000 word YA sci-fi novel. It is a feminist spin on ENDER'S GAME, with a dash of Firefly. It is a standalone novel, with series potential. 

I have an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College in Boston. I'm currently employed at a local independent bookstore as a manager and the curator of the children's section. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 


       I collapsed in an alley, as the feeling in my ribs threatened to burst out of me in a fiery whip of pain. I barely had enough strength left to tap a message to Ari on my ion5: 
:Are you up?
       Several excruciating moments passed, and the hot, sharp jolts of my ribs acted as much more than a distraction. Finally, instead of a message, Ari sent me a vid-chat: “Reeka? What? Where are you?” she asked, her voice cloudy with sleep. 
      “Downtown?” My head throbbed, as I tried not to slip further down into the void that seeped into my consciousness. 
      “Wait, what time is it?” Ari’s eyes flashed to the digi-time. “Reek! It’s three AM! Why the hell are you out?”
       Her cursing made me laugh, but doing so made my ribs hurt, and I winced.  “Goozer. I tried going after Dek. Didn’t make it.” 
       Ari said, “You are so stupid, Reek. Why would you try to do that?” She sat up and turned on her bedroom low light. Her eyes were big behind her specs that she shoved up the bridge of her nose.  
       I braced myself against the wall so that I wouldn’t pass out. “I had to go after him, Ari.” I paused and closed my eyes. “I’m running out of options. But you’re right, it was stupid.
       Dek and I had made three rules for survival when we were kids: stick together, trust no one, and always go back for each other.


Thank you to everyone involved in the Writer's Voice this year, and good luck to all the entrants!


  1. Your query is so intriguing! I love the idea of a feminist ENDER'S GAME. Good luck in the contest!

  2. Ender's Game is exactly what I thought. Great 250! Good Luck!

  3. Good luck in the competition! (Are you on Twitter, btw?)

  4. Go feminist spin. That should be a thing. Love it. Good luck :)

  5. Wonderful query and intriguing 250! Best of luck!

  6. I want you! I love all the elements you’ve mixed into your plot--family relationships, space travel, fighter pilot school--and who wouldn’t want to read a gender-swapped version of ENDER’S GAME with a dash of Firefly?! Then your first page caught my attention with its well-balanced combination of character development and forward-moving action.

    Your query is already pretty solid, but I think it could still benefit from a good line edit. In particular, I’d like to tone down some of the proper nouns so agents won’t feel like their heads are spinning by the end. Also, I’d like to see if we can work some setting details into your first page to give it a little more grounding.

    That said, I think you’ve got a great project on your hands, and I’d love to have you and it on my team. Pick me, pick me, pick me! Once I post these comments, I have to step away from my computer for a few hours to get my kids ready for school, so if the other coaches try to swoop in here and steal you (and I won’t be at all surprised if they do), please give me some time to offer a rebuttal before you make a decision.