THE EXPIRATION DATE: Writer’s Voice Entry


Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

Word Count: 80,000



Life’s hard when you’re an outcast at school and a spy-sorceress at the CIA.


For fifteen-year-old Victoria Manson, freshman year is supposed to be her fresh start: new friends, fun times, and maybe even a boyfriend. She never anticipated being inducted into an elite world of magic, where spying and sorcery go hand-in-hand. As a rookie sorceress, she must undergo physical conditioning, weapons training, and magical instructing before she can take on spy missions. Between keeping up with schoolwork and trying to stay alive, Victoria struggles to balance her double identities.


When a federal agent discloses secrets about their entwined pasts, Victoria discovers she has less than a year to live. To break the curse binding their lives, they must team up to eliminate the man responsible for cursing them: Joseph Manson, Victoria’s older brother.


First 250:


“Don’t fuck up.” Victoria’s father kissed her forehead.

She nodded. Not the usual first-day-of-school advice, but effective nevertheless. Translation: For the love of God, stay away from alcohol, drugs, and especially sex.

As if she wanted those things.

Her father ruffled her hair. “Atta girl.”

She stood on tiptoes and pressed her lips to his cheek. “Love you, Dad.”

He smiled. “Love you, too, kiddo.”

She hitched her backpack on her shoulders. Off to Hormone High.

School opened at seven. She arrived at six thirty, a freshman fresh from homeschool. Inside, everything was the gray of a rotting corpse. No one seemed to mind. New world. New rules.

She examined the masses.

Everyone was similar but different, like sentences in a paragraph, punctuated to accentuate. Declaratives couldn’t resist making a statement. Imperatives never stopped commanding. Exclamatories always expressed emotion. Interrogatives continued to question. I’m a declarative sentence. Period.

No one knew her. Not yet. She lifted her chin. Time to shine.

She marched down the crowded hallway. People jostled her this way and that. Pushed past her. Said nothing.

So much for shining.

A bell screeched, and the roaches skittered. Teachers herded stubborn sheep into classrooms. Slammed their doors. Locked everyone in.

Victoria finally found her pen. Classes began. Teachers droned on and on and on. This day would never end.