Title: Upstaged

Age Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Word Count: 47,000


In a diverse, gender-swapped A CHRISTMAS CAROL retelling, an ambitious twelve-year-old actress, Ebi, vows to scare her co-stars into quitting. But a theatre ghost complicates her plans, insisting Ebi experience her past, present, and future.

First 250 Words of Manuscript:

Act I, scene 1

Auditions began with dancing, which was both cruel and stupid. Why make a bunch of kids get all sweaty, before they read? For all the directors knew, half these kids couldn’t deliver a line to save their souls. If Ebele Xia Scott ran auditions they would be much more efficient and much less smelly.

Of course, they also wouldn’t be auditioning for A Christmas Carol in August. The humidity was killing her. Ebi tore her eyes away from the horror of her frizzing bun in the giant wall of mirrors and focused on the assistant choreographer.

When Beatrice crooked her finger, Ebi crooked hers; when she tilted her head at an angle, Ebi mimicked the exact tilt; when Beatrice did a little hop before a spin, Ebi hopped a little before spinning.

Beside Ebi, her sister technically followed the steps, but added a subtle hip-shimmy to the standard chasse.

Typical Tilda.

Even more typical, all of the adults sitting behind the casting table seemed drawn to Tilda’s lengthy grace despite her sloppy improvising.

Ebi bit her lip and danced harder, wishing she could be long, and thin, and blonde like her sister. But Ebi, the adopted sister, didn’t have even an ounce of Mom’s bombshell DNA. Just once she wished people would be awed by her beauty.

Not that she wanted to upstage Tilda. They both had to be cast or neither would be allowed to participate, per Mom and Dad’s new rules. Something about family togetherness, blah, blah.


  1. I’d love to read this as I go down Gumdrop Pass! Please send the first 50 pages, query and synopsis to chquery [at] mcintoshandotis [dot] com with Pitch Madness request in the subject line. -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

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