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#KT250 is a Kite Tales quarterly community contest! We’re proud to announce this quarter’s winners and share the first 250 words of their unpublished manuscripts. We encourage agents, publishers, and mentors to reach out to any they find intriguing!

To find out how YOU can enter for next quarter, check out contest info here. Entries are now being accepted for next quarter!



CATE TOURYAN for The One Thousand and One Knights of Siroun Haroun, Middle Grade, Fiction Autobiography/Biography

Prize: Gift certificate to Los Angeles’s The Last Bookstore

Author Bio: When not editing or teaching technical writing, Cate Touryan writes short stories and creative nonfiction and tries not to check her email compulsively for good news (or any news) from her agent on her first novel. She has found that the best way to live each day is by taking walks with her dog (and her mom) and by faith.

First 250 Words: 

When my name was Siroun Hartoun — which was last year in third grade — Emily Swanson handed me the remedy to my misery along with a wadded-up Kleenex. She did this in a show of gallantry as I was being led down the corridor to the principal’s office for the second time.

“You didn’t use this already, did you?” I spluttered, sopping up my nose.

She fished in her coat pocket. “I don’t think so. But it’s the only one I’ve got.”

She held a notebook to her chest as we marched by her locker. “You know, Siroun,” she said with a sigh as we rounded the corner, “the pen is mightier than the sword.”

Emily Swanson was in the fifth grade, so that was good enough for me. The next time Joey Crabtree started to annoy me, reaching across the table to swipe my glitter-smeared Valentine, I stabbed him in the hand with my pencil.

This time the principal called my mother in. Emily Swanson, home with the flu, missed this, my third death march. “Don’t joke about death marches,” my father said at dinner. “They are a real and terrible thing.” He glared at my little brother as well, who pretended to smoke a sarma.

Well, it was a real and terrible thing to be hauled off to the principal’s office — a third time in two weeks. No snickering kids in the corridor this time. Just the fast click of heels and snap, crackle, pop of bubble gum.

Learn more about Cate or contact her to request her manuscript via: Website:
www.catetouryan.com; Twitter: @CateTouryan; or Facebook: @CateTouryan.



MADELINE RUE for Tumbleweeds, Young Adult, Horror

Prize: Honorable Mention

Author Bio: Madeline Rue began writing as a teenager after moving to Los Angeles. It was her way of preserving a childhood spent swimming, climbing trees, befriending animals, reading comics, and drawing imaginary worlds. She later earned a B.A. in Creative Writing, completed the UCLA Writers’ Program, and joined SCBWI. She is represented by Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

First 250 Words:

Welcome to Wisteria Market. Have a healthy, sunshiny day.”

That phrase dug, claws deep, into my brain. The announcement played at least a hundred times a day . . . not that I counted . . . anymore.

Every summer, for the past three years, Mr. Villalobos gave me the zero six thirty to fifteen hundred hours shift at the market. Mom was military, and the folks ‘round here assumed I loved getting up before the damp hay soaking the air had dissipated.

My eyes barely focused through the gooey remains of sleep. I yawned, catching a mouthful of freshly-mopped-yet-somehow-stale fumes that permeated the store. The shelves of dog food cans sat there with their labels in mismatched directions, waiting for me to adjust them — one can at a time, like some psychopath.

The scrape and squeak of a shopping cart alerted me that our first customer had gone from standstill to roamer. Probably an early-bird local, who liked to beat the afternoon crowd — that onslaught of out-of-towners grabbing snacks on the way to the real tourist towns along the coast.

The ceiling crackled. Music seeped through the speakers with staticky-gritty torture. A prehistoric beast could surface from Moon Crater Lake, march over the hills, make a pit stop in our tumbleweed-ridden town, and still, Wisteria Market would never change their greeting or their selection of lost-era songs.

The music loop played loudest in aisle nine — this pasty-yellow linoleum stretch where I currently worked.

Learn more about Madeline or contact her to request her manuscript via: Website: madelinerue.com; Twitter: @MadelineRue; FaceBook: @MadelineRueAuthor; or email.


LAURISA WHITE REYES for Memorable, Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction

Prize: Honorable Mention

Author Bio: Laurisa White Reyes is the author of the 2015 Spark Award & Moonbeam Award winning novel, The Storytellers, as well as the 2017 Spark Honor recipient, Petals. She is a freelance editor and formatter, and the former editor-in-chief of Middle Shelf Magazine. Laurisa lives in Santa Clarita where she teaches English composition at College of the Canyons.

First 250 Words:

Most people don’t get what it’s like living on the edge of a knife.

I do.

For me, life is a constant juggling act between peace and an all-out Mt. Vesuvius eruption. I wish I could change it, but I can’t. All I can do is try to keep all the balls from crashing down. Right now, I’m not doing a very good job of it.

When I push open Brett’s door, I half expect to see his bedroom plastered with band posters and his shelves piled high with sheet music. But the freshly painted beige walls are blank, the shelves empty. We’ve lived here almost two months and the posters are still rolled up in the corner, the music and his other stuff still packed in boxes, like he doesn’t plan to stay long.

I spot him curled up on his bed. There’s a familiar tension in the air, like a predator lurking in the shadows ready to strike.

“Brett?” I step cautiously into the room.

“Brett, I’m sorry, okay?”

He growls a warning. “Leave me alone, Penny.”

It’s my fault Brett’s acting like this. He borrowed my Beats and broke them, but why did I have to lose my temper over it? My short fuse set him off, so Brett’s angry, but not at me. He’s pissed at himself, and under normal circumstances he ought to be. But life with Brett is anything but normal, and I can’t afford to go where I know this road is heading.

Learn more about Laurisa or contact her to request her manuscript via: Website: www.laurisawhitereyes.com; Twitter: @lwreyes; FaceBook: @Laurisa-White-Reyes-Author; or email.


To find out how YOU can enter for next quarter, check out contest info here. Entries are now being accepted for next quarter!


For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become an SCBWI member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.


#KT250 original photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash. Author photos provided by their corresponding authors.