Monday, July 9, 2012

Christmas in July Contest Entry

A new month means another Query Contest hosted by some great authors and bloggers looking to connect writers with literary agents. These contests are all about getting people excited about promoting and sharing their work and getting exposure for their queries among a list of talented agents. The Christmas in July Contest hosted by Michelle Krys and Ruth Lauren Steven was open today, and I eagerly submitted my entry, which called for my query and the first 500 words of the manuscript. Check it out below, and wish me luck! :)

John Krissilas: ONE FIFTY ONE (YA dystopian)


Dear Agents,

Combining the totalitarian themes of The Hunger Games with the spirit of adventure found in Star Wars, the YA dystopian novel ONE FIFTY ONE (complete at 96,000 words) immerses readers in a world in which people live their entire lives in Colonies of one hundred and fifty members—no more, no less.

But seventeen-year-old Aeneas doesn’t belong to a Colony. As the bloody scars on his back remind him, he was one more than needed. One more than necessary. He survives as a common thief in the depths of the Ilium Underground. The order, hierarchy, and safety of the Colony Spires are a mystery to him, their members strangers, their rulers unknown. But then the world he thought he knew begins to slowly fall apart. A mobster tortures him for secrets. The band of pirates that raised him is slaughtered in cold blood. The Ilium Secret Police seem to be following his every move. All are on the hunt for an ancient and powerful Key.

Then he meets Casseopea, an orphaned girl from the Colonies, and his world gets turned around once more. All is not well in her Colony: a secret rebellion is brewing, the new Head Mistress is terrorizing its members, and the Chieftain has set his own eye on the Key, casting Casseopea out into the Underground in order to find it. Only by joining forces with this mysterious girl will Aeneas learn the truth about his past, unlock the power of the Key, and change the fate of Ilium forever.

With a passion for dark tales with heart, I’ve previously written a collection of dystopian short stories, two of which have been published in the online magazines MindFlights and Static Movement. I also write a blog about my experiences as a writer at

I’ve included the first 500 words below, and would be happy to send you further material at your request. I look forward to hearing from you,

John Krissilas


This can’t be the true Son of Ilium.

Panicked thoughts swept through Memnon’s throbbing forehead as he reached for the silver-plated battle axe that had hung from his war belt since he was a young man. Cool steel-coloured eyes bore into him from the intruder—the boy—watching his every move. Tattered robes, soiled from the filth of the city Underground, lay at his feet.

First a beggar, now a boy. This can’t be the true Son of Ilium.

Memnon’s heart beat a little faster. The axe wasn’t there. Only nothingness. It should have been there—it was always there. Instead, the cold leather of his belt gave way to the folds of velvet from his tunic. Something wet. Something warm.


He felt more eyes on him now. He was surrounded. The Elders of the Colony. His people. But they weren’t his people anymore. Not now. Not with this boy, this stranger, this outcast, standing in his way. They used to be his people. Now, their hatred burned a hole in his chest. The horrible feeling of revenge flowed from their eyes, through the room, and settled in the bowels of his stomach. But they didn’t move. They seemed to be waiting. Waiting for the boy. His heart beat faster still.

How dare they! This is sacrilege, treason. After all these years, years of peace, years of stability, contentment! I am their Chieftain! How dare they…

The boy didn’t flinch. Memnon studied his face. It was young, but it looked battered, resolute, like it had survived decades of work in the Mines. Probably worse. It was covered in sweat, and the boy’s short jet-black curls stuck to it like glue. He wasn’t wearing a Colony uniform, or any type of garment sanctioned by the State. Not surprising. His dark brown leather breastplate could only have been made in the Black Market, his blue dust-covered tunic could only have been passed down from one of the Forgotten. A thief, probably. A scavenger. Street urchin. The boy held his stare.

This can’t be the true Son of Ilium.

“‘Neas.” One of the Colony members spoke aloud, and the boy turned his head to its source. Wait. Not a member. Not of this Colony. Memnon knew them all. It was another one of the filthy dregs from the Underground. A girl, one of the Performers, it looked like. Remnants of glittering gold paint covered her face. But she too had shed her disguise. The troupe gear was gone. She now wore a leather tunic, similar to the boy’s, except cut off at the arms for movement. Spattered blood mixed with the gold paint on her face. She nodded to the boy, their eyes met. In one hand she held a long wooden bow, unlike anything that could be bought in the Black Market. An Outlander. Memnon shuddered. Even filthier than the boy. This was worse than he thought.

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