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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 We’re proud to announce this quarter’s winners and share the first 250 words of their unpublished manuscripts.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 hereEntries are now being accepted for next quarter!


SUE GANZ-SCHMITT for SHE SOARED! (How Mary Myers Became Carlotta, Lady Aeronaut), Picture Book, Non-Fiction Autobiography/Biography

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

Author Bio: Sue Ganz-Schmitt is a children’s book author, mother, musical theater producer, and philanthropist. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in writing for children and young adults. Sue has performed in Renton Broadway, run a marathon, and pursues other improbable challenges. Her next book, That Monster on the Block (Amazon/Two Lions), will be released in 2020.

First 250 Words: 

Before you or your mother were born…

Before your grandmother, and your great-grandmother too…

Before rockets, airplanes, cars — and even phones…

A tiny girl soared into this world. Her parents named her Mary Breed Hawley.

Way back then, in 1849, girls were taught not to do brave and dangerous things.

Unless you consider ironing clothes, preparing boiling pots of tea, and tussling with treacherous roses in the garden to be dangerous.

Proper young ladies like Mary were expected to simply wed and have children. Unless they were teachers — then they should not marry at all!

Proper or not, Mary dreamt of flying . . . floating freely in space. But those happy sensations fled when Mary opened her eyes.

When she was nineteen, Mary Breed Hawley did exactly what American society expected. Mary tethered herself to a gentleman and tied the knot.

Her husband, Carl Meyers was a portrait photographer fascinated with science, technology, ballooning, meteorology — and Mary.

After they married, Mary Meyers did the unexpected.

She did not settle down in the kitchen or garden. She studied ballooning.

Carl had a great library of books on aeronautics and meteorology. Mary read and read.

All those books filled her head with lofty ideas.

Mary offered to help Carl with a new kind of balloon fabric he was designing.

Making balloon fabric may not sound dangerous, but it was chancy — like mad science.

Carl’s crazy concoction could burst into flames at any moment or sputter and explode, and sometimes it did.

Learn more about Sueor contact her to request her manuscript via: Website: sueganzschmitt.com; Twitter: @planetkbooks; or email.


SHERRY SHAHAN for Dancing on the Roof of a Flea Bag Motel, Young Adult, Non-Fiction Autobiography/Biography

Prize: Honorable Mention

Author Bio: Sherry Shahan’s novels include YA Skin and Bones, a quirky love story set in an Eating Disorders facility, and middle-grade adventures Frozen Stiff, Ice Island, and Death Mountain. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and taught a writing course for UCLA Extension for 10 years.

First 250 Words:

In 1959, Daddy drove a short-bed pickup. I was ten-years-old, barely a head above the door handle. Weekend treks with Daddy were patchy, an orange sherbet at Baskin-Robbins or lunch at My Brother’s Barbeque, a restaurant with a big brown and white plastic cow on the roof. The best days, a matinee at Topanga Theater.

I was always glad to see Daddy, but in a cautious way, because I never knew which Daddy would show up. The fun-loving guy with a bag of licorice whips? Or the other one?

This one Saturday Daddy honked for me to come out.

I skipped down the brick walkway to his truck. The inside smelled like pool cleaning chemicals. He’d given up his swimming pool business years earlier but the stink of hydrochloric acid still burned my nose.

“Hi Daddy.”

“Hi sweetie.” He drove with his middle finger, as if to say f-u to anyone in his way.

“Open a beer for me — will you, honey?”

“Sure, Daddy.”

He passed a church key from the rolled up sleeve of his t-shirt. The metal was sweaty hot. I poked a perfect triangular hole in the can, and a second, smaller one to let in air. Thanks, Daddy, for teaching me that.

Learn more about Sherry or contact her to request her manuscript via: Website: www.sherryshahan.com; or email.

D.L. ARMSTRONG for Shaggy Magic, Middle Grade, Fantasy

Prize: Honorable Mention

Author Bio: D. L. Armstrong is a native Californian, married (to Linda), and retired from Cal State Public Affairs. Educated at Occidental & Johns Hopkins, former poet, and now children’s writer, his latest project is a sequel to Alice in Wonderland.

First 250 Words:

Don’t Ask

It’s not every day that you wake up hugging some random tree, twenty feet above the ground and naked. Especially not on the first day of summer school.

The morning was too young to cast a shadow, but dawn would soon be nudging the campus into view. And him with it.

Just how had he gotten there?

And how was he going to get back to his dorm unseen?

A tiny breeze tickled his bare shoulders. Greg cocked one ear up and listened. Nothing. Not even the breakfast crew for the cafeteria had yet arrived. For now, Foothill Academy was a ghost town. Without thinking, Greg sniffed the air. The scratched bark beside him leaked a wet sap smell.

Trying to stay calm, Greg scouted the surrounding branches. Nothing but leaves and a few pods. Where, exactly, were his clothes? He leaned out again and looked down, hoping to discover them piled at the foot of the tree. Roots had buckled the walkway below, leaving a dusting of weeds in the cracks. But no clothes. He had no idea where he’d left them. In fact, he didn’t remember undressing.

A spread of soft, reddish-brown fur still ran up to his knees like loose boots. So, no, he wasn’t absolutely naked. But he’d soon need something more.

“First time werewolf?” asked a sharp voice nearby.

Greg twisted his head around. A huge gray squirrel was perched on a neighboring branch. It spared him a curious cockeyed glance.

Learn more about Dennisor contact himto request hismanuscript via: Website: sites.google.com/site/drdstoryteller; or email.

To find out how YOU can enter for next quarter, check out contest info hereEntries 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.