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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 We’re proud to announce this quarter’s winners and share the first 250 words of their unpublished manuscripts.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!


for Edie and Ana, Young Adult, Drama

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

Author Bio: Catherine Leigh Purtill is a writer and the artistic director of a nonprofit ballet company. Her YA novels have been published by Penguin and HarperCollins and her ballet company has performed its signature “zombie ballet” in front of millions on The Gong Show and in front of thousands on the stage. She’s a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Boston University.

First 250 Words: 

I live in a body that is not my own. I’m renting it. I’m borrowing it. An indefinite lease.

Some days I want it forever, this softness, these curves and slopes. They’re not so bad in the winter, when they’re under a cardigan and a turtleneck, shaping the space I’m in.

Some days – most days? – …no, no, no, take it back, take it all back. Give me my angles, my lines. Give me my bones.

I want to see sharp when I look in a mirror.

If I look in a mirror.

Every day is different and I never know which me I will face when I zombie-shamble into the bathroom in the morning, head bent, gaze on the floor, seeing nothing but blurry pink and white tiles under my bare feet because I don’t have my glasses on.

Is this the me that is happy, the one that feels comfortable in this skin? Is it the me that can imagine a bright future, one filled with boyfriends and girlfriends and friend-friends and a loving dad and a caring stepmom and a senior year-leading-into-college that is super awesome and amazing and successful? Is it the me that sees beauty in her reflection?

Or is it the me who doesn’t. The me who isn’t. The me who can’t. The me who won’t.

Learn more about Catherine or contact her to request her manuscript via: Website: leighpurtill.com; Facebook: @clpurtill; or email.



NICHOLAS PONTICELLO for Pigs in Clover, Young Adult, Fiction Autobiography/Biography, Literary Fiction

Prize: Honorable Mention

Author Bio: Nicholas Ponticello is the author of Do Not Resuscitate, which won a Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award, an INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award, and a CIPA EVVY Award. His second novel, The Maiden Voyage of the Destiny Unknown, also won a Reviewers Choice Award and was listed among 100 Notable Books in the Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition.

First 250 Words:

There’s a difference between thinking you’re going to stab someone with a knife and actually doing it. The difference is subtle. You feel a tingling sensation in your hand as you grip the handle of the knife, a sensation that it’s going to happen, beyond your control, like standing on a bridge and thinking you’re going to throw yourself off. But you don’t stab the person with the knife. You only think you’re going to do it. And when you walk away, the distress of thinking about stabbing someone—murdering someone in cold blood—is so great that you start to wonder if maybe you did stab someone with a knife.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll relate to this experience. It’s a daily occurrence for me. I have OCD—obsessive-compulsive disorder. I was diagnosed in the fourth grade. Now I’m seventeen, and I’ve been here before. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The benzodiazepines. The hours of exposure and response prevention therapy with Dr. Hawthorn. The intensive outpatient program at UCLA.

None of it seems to be working. I still can’t get out of bed for fear I’ll do something terrible. Push a stranger into oncoming traffic. Smother my kid brother with a pillow. Stab my grandmother with a kitchen knife.

So now I’m standing outside the gate of a small desert facility on the periphery of Joshua Tree National Park, at least six miles from the nearest neighbor. Mom is urging me to go in.

Learn more about Nicholas or contact him to request his manuscript via: Website: booleanop.com; Twitter: @NickPonticello; Instagram: @NicholasPonticello; or email.


GREG TRINE for Gator, Young Adult, Drama

Prize: Honorable Mention

Author Bio: Greg Trine is the author of the Melvin Beederman Superhero series (Henry Holt), The Adventures of Jo Schmo series (HMH), Willy Maykit in Space, George at the Speed of Light, and others. He lives with his family on the coast of California, along with his faithful dog and writing buddy, Luke, Alaskan Malamute Extraordinaire.

First 250 Words:

Coach turns up the heat in the wrestling room, like we’re not already sweating like maniacs. We’ve been wrestling round-robin for twenty minutes, one minute rounds, winner stays out on the mat. And I’ve been winning, so I’m still going at it—hard—blocking every takedown attempt with sprawls and whizzers. But barely squeaking by…and growing weaker. Any second now some JV guy’s gonna shoot in on a low single leg and I won’t be able to stop him.

Any second now. 

Stay low, I tell myself. Hips in if somebody shoots.

Finally Coach blows his whistle and says, “At ease, gentlemen.”

But not for long. He writes the word Varsity Wrestle-Offs on the whiteboard in green neon marker. Then he points to me. “Bronson, you ready?” He nods at Crookshank. “You and Crookshank for the 130 pound spot.”

Crookshank smirks. He knows I’ve just gone hard for twenty minutes and I’m not exactly fresh. “Piece of cake,” he says under his breath as he yanks up a kneepad.

I wouldn’t be a piece of cake if I hadn’t gone hard for the last twenty minutes. But now who knows? I’m feeling weak and Crookshank smells blood. He walks out to the center of the mat and turns around, hands on his knees, still smirking. I’m on the edge of the mat, trying not to look completely winded. I even muster a smirk of my own. Right back at you, Crookshank.

“Today, Hayes!” Coach yells at me.

Learn more about Greg or contact him to request his manuscript via: Website: gregtrine.com; 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, with Greg Trine’s taken by Juanita Trine.