#SonOfAPitch Team Leia: THE RAMBLIN’ HAND OF SHERRY ANNE

Title: THE RAMBLIN’ HAND OF SHERRY ANNE
Category and Genre: Adult / Literary
Word Count: 92,500

ramblin' hand
Query:

Seventeen-year-old Sherry Anne Maes is a hand-shakin’, state-travelin’, good-luck-givin’ girl. Born with a rabbit’s foot attached to her hipbone, her palm contains the power to bestow good luck to those she chooses.

But unfortunately, using that luck to save her cancer-riddled father is another story. And when he dies, he not only leaves Sherry with a grudge against her handshake, but he truth-bombs her with a long-kept secret about her birth. Suddenly, she feels like an outsider, a dumpster baby no one wants, and so Sherry gets the hell out of her hometown and gets highway bound via Buick Skylark.

Traveling across the US of A, Sherry tries to outrun the gift of her handshake, while working to unravel clues about her past left behind in her father’s letters. Letters which eventually lead her to learn that she is not alone in the world. That there are others out there like her, those called Weirdos.

Curious to connect with her own kind, Sherry hitches a ride with her boot-knockin’-boy Catch Shepard, lead singer of a busking bluegrass band. However, her efforts to track down her fellow Weirdos are derailed when Sherry discovers one of her past handshakes has gone wrong. Now she must rush against time, and fight against a meddling cocaine-addled fiddle player, to right the good luck she has pressed to the wrong person, even if it means letting her own run luck—and life—run out.

First 250 Words:

I was born fur on fire.

Fourth of July morning, a full moon high in the sky good enough to howl at, my little town of Mariah, Montana went insane. Because I came into this world with a rabbit’s foot attached to my hipbone.

Small and floppy, this furry extra appendage dangled off my right side, high up, an afterthought like one of those unwanted skin flaps old people get. A silky gray-brown pelt dotted with small orbs of pearly white. Cushy pink pads on the bottom of a dainty paw. An honest-to-god rabbit’s foot.

I’ve got photos as evidence. In the faded, grainy prints taken by hospital staff, the foot’s tiny, about a pinkie-length, and pretty in an odd holy-shit-this-shouldn’t-be- possible kind of way. Like babies born with vestigial tails or cutaneous horns. And at least those conditions have been documented throughout history. Medical anomalies which have an explanation for the skin-covered bundle of nerves and tissue buried beneath the flesh of the afflicted. So far, science tells me I’m the first in history to be born with something that should only be carried on a key chain. Sold at dirty truck stop gas stations along with a pack of KOOLS and Astroglide.

 I’ve got the foot too.

Local doctors removed it a week after my birth. Snipped it off with great big medical scissors and stitched up my hip, leaving behind a four-inch raised scar. Today the scar resembles braided white twine coiled on my bony hipbone and ending near the top of my waist.

16 thoughts on “#SonOfAPitch Team Leia: THE RAMBLIN’ HAND OF SHERRY ANNE”

  1. All my opinions are just that opinions. Please take what helps and ignore the rest.

    Seventeen-year-old Sherry Anne Maes is a hand-shakin’, state-travelin’, good-luck-givin’ girl. Born with a rabbit’s foot attached to her hipbone, her palm contains the power to bestow good luck to those she chooses.
    (I am in! And until I read the first page, I thought the rabbit’s foot on her hip was a metaphor…but no.)

    But unfortunately, using that luck to save her cancer-riddled father is another story. And when he dies, he not only leaves Sherry with a grudge against her handshake, but he truth-bombs her with a long-kept secret about her birth. Suddenly, she feels like an outsider, a dumpster baby no one wants, and so Sherry gets the hell out of her hometown and gets highway bound via Buick Skylark.
    (What secret? I just love the voice! And a great set up of character and then conflict!)

    Traveling across the US of A, Sherry tries to outrun the gift of her handshake, while working to unravel clues about her past left behind in her father’s letters. Letters which eventually lead her to learn that she is not alone in the world. That there are others out there like her, those called Weirdos.
    (OMG PLEASE I WANT TO MEET THE WEIRDOS!)

    Curious to connect with her own kind, Sherry hitches a ride with her boot-knockin’-boy Catch Shepard, lead singer of a busking bluegrass band. However, her efforts to track down her fellow Weirdos are derailed when Sherry discovers one of her past handshakes has gone wrong. Now she must rush against time, and fight against a meddling cocaine-addled fiddle player, to right the good luck she has pressed to the wrong person, even if it means letting her own run luck—and life—run out.
    (I think you can combine a couple of sentences…”are derailed when Sherry must fight a meddling cocaine-addled fiddle player to right the good luck she pressed to the wrong person…” How will this let her luck and life run out? What is the choice she must make…to continue the search for the Weirdos or stop the fiddle player? What happens if she doesn’t deal with the fiddle player…what happens if she can’t find the weirdos? Maybe a bit long, but I really like this query.)

    First 250 Words:

    I was born fur on fire.
    (GOOD GOD I LOVE THAT LINE.)
    Fourth of July morning, a full moon high in the sky good enough to howl at, my little town of Mariah, Montana went insane. Because I came into this world with a rabbit’s foot attached to my hipbone.
    (AH! The voice…it’s stunning.)
    Small and floppy, this furry extra appendage dangled off my right side, high up, an afterthought like one of those unwanted skin flaps old people get. A silky gray-brown pelt dotted with small orbs of pearly white. Cushy pink pads on the bottom of a dainty paw. An honest-to-god rabbit’s foot.
    (That’s crazy…crazy cool!)

    I’ve got photos as evidence. In the faded, grainy prints taken by hospital staff, the foot’s tiny, about a pinkie-length, and pretty in an odd holy-shit-this-shouldn’t-be- possible kind of way. Like babies born with vestigial tails or cutaneous horns. And at least those conditions have been documented throughout history. Medical anomalies which have an explanation for the skin-covered bundle of nerves and tissue buried beneath the flesh of the afflicted. So far, science tells me I’m the first in history to be born with something that should only be carried on a key chain. Sold at dirty truck stop gas stations along with a pack of KOOLS and Astroglide.

    I’ve got the foot too.

    Local doctors removed it a week after my birth. Snipped it off with great big medical scissors and stitched up my hip, leaving behind a four-inch raised scar. Today the scar resembles braided white twine coiled on my bony hipbone and ending near the top of my waist.
    (I love this! The voice, the words, the desription! Though I wonder if the rabbits foot part goes on for a bit long…you start to lose me. Though it’s all great, so don’t know what you would cut.)

  2. Hey there,

    Query notes:

    “Seventeen-year-old Sherry Anne Maes is a hand-shakin’, state-travelin’, good-luck-givin’ girl. Born with a rabbit’s foot attached to her hipbone, her palm contains the power to bestow good luck to those she chooses.”

    So far, so good. I love the voice, interesting setup.

    “But unfortunately, using that luck to save her cancer-riddled father is another story. And when he dies, he not only leaves Sherry with a grudge against her handshake, but he truth-bombs her with a long-kept secret about her birth. Suddenly, she feels like an outsider, a dumpster baby no one wants, and so Sherry gets the hell out of her hometown and gets highway bound via Buick Skylark.”

    Starting to wobble here for me. 1. If she can give good luck to those she chooses, why won’t it work on her dad? 2. “Truth-bombs” jarred me. 3. The first paragraph says she’s a “state-travelin'” girl, but now, after the incident with her father, she’s highway bound. That seems confusing.

    “Traveling across the US of A, Sherry tries to outrun the gift of her handshake, while working to unravel clues about her past left behind in her father’s letters. Letters which eventually lead her to learn that she is not alone in the world. That there are others out there like her, those called Weirdos.”

    Clues to what? The secret about her past?

    “Curious to connect with her own kind, Sherry hitches a ride with her boot-knockin’-boy Catch Shepard, lead singer of a busking bluegrass band. However, her efforts to track down her fellow Weirdos are derailed when Sherry discovers one of her past handshakes has gone wrong. Now she must rush against time, and fight against a meddling cocaine-addled fiddle player, to right the good luck she has pressed to the wrong person, even if it means letting her own run luck—and life—run out.”

    What happened to the Skylark? Why does she need to hitch a ride? Has Catch been with her all this time? “Rush against time” is too vague, I have no idea why she’s rushing against time. “Even if it means letting her own…life…run out” sounds strange.

    The voice is fantastic. There are just some clarity issues I would love to see cleared up.

    I’m wondering about the genre/age designation. This is supposed to be adult literary fiction, but this query makes me think “YA magical realism.”

    Best of luck!

  3. Thanks so much for participating in Son of a Pitch!

    YOUR QUERY

    I absolutely love this! It’s quirky, cute, and catches my attention from word one. My only minor suggestion would be to remove the word “And” from this sentence: And when he dies, he not only leaves Sherry with a grudge against her handshake, but he truth-bombs her with a long-kept secret about her birth.]

    YOUR FIRST 250

    I honestly have nothing to suggest here. I love the voice. I love the style. I love that the story is as quirky and unique as the query promises. You’re going to have to let me know when you find a home for this baby so I can add it to my shelf. I’m digging it!

    Best of luck to you!

  4. Query:
    Seventeen-year-old Sherry Anne Maes is a hand-shakin’, state-travelin’, good-luck-givin’ girl. Born with a rabbit’s foot attached to her hipbone, her palm contains the power to bestow good luck to those she chooses. (Wow, just wow)
    But unfortunately, using that luck to save her cancer-riddled father is another story. And when he dies, he not only leaves Sherry with a grudge against her handshake, but he truth-bombs her with a long-kept secret about her birth. Suddenly, she feels like an outsider, a dumpster baby no one wants (perfect), and so Sherry gets the hell out of her hometown and gets highway bound via Buick Skylark.
    Traveling across the US of A, Sherry tries to outrun the gift of her handshake, while working to unravel clues about her past left behind in her father’s letters. Letters which eventually lead her to learn that she is not alone in the world. That there are others out there like her, those called Weirdos.
    Curious to connect with her own kind, Sherry hitches a ride with her boot-knockin’-boy Catch Shepard, lead singer of a busking bluegrass band. However, her efforts to track down her fellow Weirdos are derailed when Sherry discovers one of her past handshakes has gone wrong. (what does that mean? Will she die is she misuses her “power” is there a penalty for this?) Now she must rush against time, and fight against a meddling cocaine-addled fiddle player (did he get the handshake?) to right the good luck she has pressed to the wrong person, even if it means letting her own (run – delete?) luck—and life—run out. LOVE the ending phrase, but clear up the question a few sentences earlier so it can stick.

    This query was so much fun, I read it twice. The voice here just sings (with a twangy, southern lilt) and I think it’s fabulous. Rich with phrasings and dialect driven details – colored me impressed. A touch of clarity about the rush to correct the shake is all I see that’s needed.

    First 250: So, I’m not going to post my comments from your 250 because who really needs to see: great line, holy smokes, that’s great, and love this… so, I’ll just summarize. You matched words to tell the story with the voice so well, the delivery feels authentic and addictive. The phrasings are spectacular : about a pinkie-length, and pretty in an odd holy-shit-this-shouldn’t-be- possible kind of way and along with a pack of KOOLS and Astroglide. I’m just sad the words ran out. Excellent work.

    All suggestions/opinions/thoughts are humbly offered. Thanks for sharing your words.

  5. Thank you both for the feedback.

    Below is a revised query. I ended up taking the fiddle player out. While it’s a plot thread, it doesn’t merge nicely with the main plot, so I opted to cut it so it’s less confusing.

    QUERY:

    Seventeen-year-old Sherry Anne Maes is a hand-shakin’, state-travelin’, good-luck-givin’ girl. Born with a rabbit’s foot attached to her hipbone, her palm contains the power to bestow good luck to those she chooses.

    But unfortunately, using that luck to save her cancer-riddled father is another story. And when he dies, he not only leaves Sherry with a grudge against her handshake, but he truth-bombs her with a long-kept secret about her birth. Suddenly, she feels like an outsider, a dumpster baby no one wants, and so Sherry gets the hell out of her hometown and gets highway bound via Buick Skylark.

    Traveling across the US of A, Sherry tries to outrun the gift of her good luck, while working to unravel clues about her past left behind in her father’s letters. Letters which eventually lead her to learn that she is not alone in the world. That there are others out there like her, those called Weirdos.

    Curious to connect with her own kind, Sherry hitches a ride with her boot-knockin’-boy Catch Shepard, lead singer of a busking bluegrass band. However, her efforts to track down her fellow Weirdos are derailed when Sherry discovers one of her past handshakes has gone wrong. An innocent person has died and she’s to blame. Now on a mission to save another from the same fate, Sherry must rush against time to right the good luck she has pressed to the wrong person, even if it means letting her own luck—and life—run out.

  6. Seventeen-year-old Sherry Anne Maes is a hand-shakin’, state-travelin’, good-luck-givin’ girl. Born with a rabbit’s foot attached to her hipbone, her palm contains the power to bestow good luck to those she chooses.
    But unfortunately, using that luck to save her cancer-riddled father is another story. And when he dies, he not only leaves Sherry with a grudge against her handshake, but he truth-bombs her with a long-kept secret about her birth. Suddenly, she feels like an outsider, a dumpster baby no one wants [I like this phrase, but I think you might want to remove it, because I think it’s either misleading or too much of a spoiler. Also, I think you might offend people more sensitive than I.], and so Sherry gets the hell out of her hometown and gets highway bound via Buick Skylark.
    Traveling across the US of A, Sherry tries to outrun the gift of her handshake, while working to unravel clues about her past left behind in her father’s letters. Letters which eventually lead her to learn that she is not alone in the world. That there are others out there like her, those called Weirdos.
    Curious to connect with her own kind, Sherry hitches a ride with her boot-knockin’-boy Catch Shepard, lead singer of a busking bluegrass band. However, her efforts to track down her fellow Weirdos are derailed when Sherry discovers one of her past handshakes has gone wrong. Now she must rush against time, and fight against a meddling cocaine-addled fiddle player, to right the good luck she has pressed to the wrong person, even if it means letting her own run luck—and life—run out.
    [This query is perfection. I love the voice, the detail, and the concept. I have a sneaking suspicion you should bill this as magical realism instead of literary, though.]
    First 250 Words:
    I was born fur on fire. [great opening line]
    Fourth of July morning, a full moon high in the sky good enough to howl at, my little town of Mariah, Montana went insane. Because I came into this world with a rabbit’s foot attached to my hipbone. [This is a good line and a good image, but in general you shouldn’t use lines from the book in the query, so I’d remove it from the query. Plus, in the query, I think it’s a metaphor, and here I find out it’s not, so it’s confusing.]
    Small and floppy, this furry extra appendage dangled off my right side, high up, an afterthought like one of those unwanted [I don’t think you need “unwanted”. It’s implied.] skin flaps old people get. A silky gray-brown pelt dotted with small orbs of pearly white. Cushy pink pads on the bottom of a dainty paw. An honest-to-god rabbit’s foot.
    I’ve got photos as evidence. In the faded, grainy prints taken by hospital staff, the foot’s tiny, about a pinkie-length, and pretty in an odd holy-shit-this-shouldn’t-be- possible kind of way. Like babies born with vestigial tails or cutaneous horns. And [I’d do a comma instead of a period, and a “but” instead of an “and”] at least those conditions have been documented throughout history. Medical anomalies which have an explanation for the skin-covered bundle of nerves and tissue buried beneath the flesh of the afflicted. So far, science tells me I’m the first in history to be born with something that should only be carried on a key chain. Sold at dirty truck stop gas stations along with a pack of KOOLS and Astroglide.
    I’ve got the foot too.
    Local doctors removed it a week after my birth. Snipped it off with great big medical scissors and stitched up my hip, leaving behind a four-inch raised scar. Today the scar resembles braided white twine coiled on my bony hipbone and ending near the top of my waist.
    [This is great!]

  7. Your query has been on my mind all morning. I didn’t come back to you so I could think. And all I have to give are my thoughts and opinions and here they are… humbly offered.

    I miss him.
    I didn’t think he was necessary and I didn’t know what role he played.
    I still don’t. Not really.
    But he was important – lyrically in a honky-tonk Sherry Anne kind of way.
    Yes, the meddling’ cocaine addled fiddler.

    Here was my thought:
    However, her efforts to track down her fellow Weirdos are derailed when Sherry discovers one of her past handshakes has gone wrong and an innocent person has died. To save another from the same fate, she must rush against time, fight a meddling cocaine-addled fiddle player and right the good luck she has pressed to the wrong person, even if it means letting her own luck—and life—run out.

    Her voice (your voice) is all about the “what” she encounters. You were right to include him. That’s my thought 🙂

    1. I agree with you. Who doesn’t love a meddling cocaine-addled fiddle player? But seriously. He is/was important and I think adding him back like this works.

      Thank you, thank you!

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