Trick or Treat #D8 – Cipher

Title: Cipher
Category: Adult
Genre: SciFi Thriller
Word Count: 100,000

Pitch: He’s framing his best friend, dating a girl to steal her password. ‘Nick Ravell’ isn’t even his real name. And he’s the hero.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costume character do you relate most to and why?

The pale suit, the broad grin — wide and without the least bit of humor — tell you I’m Mr. Wednesday from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. But if you think you know the con I’m playing, you’ve only got it half right; because I’m a bit more clever than some dusty Norse god, and I doubt there’s a chance I’ll meet his sorry fate.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka marketable/unique)?

After Cipher has turned and twisted and surprised you, after the novel you started reading transformed into something you never expected it to be, in those last sixty pages, it will give what every world-weary reader is afraid to even to hope for: an ending that actually delivers.

First 200 Words:

Nobody was above Nick Ravell.

He crept along the weathered limestone cornice capping Wellsburg Hall, staring sixty feet down to concrete, where clusters of gathering college students, preoccupied with the night’s festivities, chatted beneath temporary light towers. Nick scooted behind a brick pediment to escape the flashlight of an approaching officer.

“Anybody here?”

Someone must have reported sounds on the roof.

Nick crouched to steady the shifting slab beneath, like a sprinter poised at the blocks. Twenty feet away, a beam of light traced Nick’s previous hideout, then turned to the ledge and leapt to touch him. It transformed to shadow, blocked by architectural excess.


Nick squeezed the phone against his palm with one finger, desperate to stop the device’s slide. As black leather boots crunched near, Nick eased a shoe to the previous stone. Solid.

The edge crumbled. Nick slammed against the bricks, clamping his eyes shut to erase the dizzying drop. The footsteps stopped, close enough to hear the officer breathing. “Is someone there?”

Nick’s foot dangled over the edge; his palms pressed limestone. His hand: empty.

The phone? There – balanced on the precipice. Nick dragged it close, and curled it in his fist.

He had almost lost the detonator.


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