I'm back from Psuedo Big Sur (it's in Monterey until either the mountain slides off, or they the conference go back to its original location.) But the conference/workshop itself was geunine. I learned, wrote, revised, was criqued, made friends, and even left the hotel. But now what?
I want to apply for the SCBWI General Grant, but of course have a challenge. "The Pardy Boys" was clearly the front-runner. "Dr. Rasp" was seen as too run-of-the-mill. Problem: "Pardy Boys" is a cliff-hanging series. The advice: end the first book to make it a stand-alone. Problem: I've worked for a year to create a series. Advice? (this is the part where you come in).
I'm cutting and pasting the synopsis below. But it does have spoilers in it for anyone who might volunteer to read the book. So do I write a new ending? Submit as-is? Turn to goat herding to get out of this crazy racket?
p.s. the mailing deadline for the SCBWI Grant application is March 15th.
The Pardy Boys: Mystery of the Black Book
Synopsis by Graeme Stone
When their billionaire father is murdered and they’re framed for the crime, adoptive brothers set out to catch his killer.
Mercifully adopted when their straight-laced families rejected them for being gay, adoptive brothers Joe and Frank Pardy are day and night. Frank (16) is an impulsive, asian party boy, while Joe (17) is a button-down, white, wannabe Wall-Streeter. Like any siblings, they love to fight. That is until their father’s body is found hanging in his bedroom, his lover Armando the most obvious culprit.
But when Armando is found innocent, and bank accounts are frozen, the boys suspect that family lawyer Alden Roche is framing them. Fleeing with a sack of cash, the boys only have one weapon: their father’s infamous black book. Kept in a code they only partially understand, it reveals that he had one last appointment: Provincetown in 3 days.
Taking assumed identities, they decipher a name from the black book —“Henry”. But their job becomes infinitely more complicated when Frank gets caught with his pants down and is wrongly accused of stealing jewels from a very handsome hotel patron named Roland Garret. They cut a deal: if the hotel delays contacting the police, they will find the real thief or go to jail in two days. The real plan: find Henry on borrowed time and get out of town before the deadline.
When some electronic sleuthing reveals that a small-time hustler named Trent is faking the jewel theft for insurance money, they confront him. But Alden’s men show up, forcing the boys to follow Trent to a secret speak-easy called…Henry’s. And the owner of Henry’s is none other than Roland, the jewel heist’s true mastermind. Furious at the intrusion, he is going to lock them up.
But when Roland realizes the boys are James’ sons, he apologizes for embroiling them in his con game. Regretfully he divulges the reason for their father’s visit: a lost love letter. In college their father had an affair with another military man known in the letters only as Soldier. Love turned sour when Soldier betrayed their father. If he has already resorted to murder, the letter puts the boys in grave danger because it is the only hard evidence linking the two men.
Ducking Alden’s goons, they escape Provincetown for Boston. Searching the Harvard library, they hope an old yearbook will reveal Soldier’s picture to put a face to the name: no luck. That is until they find out at a local bar that a military-wide reunion in Miami will turn up people who knew their father…and his killer.
Hitch-hiking aboard a ship called “The Flying Dutchman” the boys realize all too late that the boat belongs to Soldier, a man crazy enough to sail them right into a hurricane. This cliffhanging ending leads to the next book in the series, Attack of the Phantom Yacht.