Judge the Judges: THREE WAYS HOME

Name: Kimberly Vanderhorst

Genre: NA Contemporary


Pitch: Seona’s last three relationships ended by not really ending at all. On a quest to reclaim her mojo, she must dump the jerkwads too chicken to dump her before she loses her chance with Mr. Maybe-Right.


The local drycleaner's always smelled like sweaty feet, completely contrary to what the name suggested. Namely that things should be dry. And clean.

I sucked in a lungful of downtown Vancouver's rain-washed air and plunged through the doorway. The shop's door chime bleeped at me like a construction vehicle backing up. It was a hell of a welcome and I still tensed up every time. My brain might know better, but my body was certain I was about to be run over.

Mrs. Lee eyeballed me from behind the counter, her manicured red claws tapping against the rumpled flyer spread out in front of her. The Hastings Street rumor mill whispered that she was singlehandedly responsible for keeping half the local stores in business. If you wanted to move product, all you had to do was tell Mrs. Lee it was fifty percent off.

"Seona! What you want cleaned?" she barked at me. Ever the charmer.

I slung my tote bag onto the counter. Mrs. Lee pawed through my suits as if looking for buried treasure between the folds, then sat back on her creaky metal stool with a grunt.

"Big girl like you no find a man wearing clothes like these," she told me.

I swallowed a sigh. "When can I pick them up?"

"You gotta dress like a woman." Mrs. Lee waved her hands through the air. “Men, they gotta see your hips. Hips for making babies. You almost twenty-five. Time to get cracking!" 

*This page has never seen the light of day before. It's for a new story idea I'm toying around with and probably needs a fair bit of work still. 


  1. Haha, love this.
    Okay, the pitch confused me a bit. Might just be me, but the impression I'm getting is that the boys are scared to break if off with her, though they want to? I can't get a clear idea on what's breaking the relationships, and why she can't dump them anyway. What's keeping her from forming a lasting relationship?
    I laughed out loud at the 250. But you could tweak the first line so it doesn't seem like you're trying to explain. Maybe give the shop a name to suggest cleanliness - like, ____ always smelled like sweaty feet, completely contrary to what the name suggested. (then you don't have to explain)
    Nice voice and characterization.

  2. I like contemporary commercial realistic novels. The pitch is clear, but I will call it Chick Lit. Many women can relate to this story, not wishing to waste years with a man who will not marry them, especially if they want a family with children. So the age of Seona is important. At age 25 there is less urgency than if she is at age 35. I like Ms. Lee, although most dry cleaners are owned by Koreans not Chinese. This is a new story for you, so there are two elements. How Seona breaks with her current not serious boy friend and how she is going to find the new man. Finding Mr. Right is the biggest challenge and that's what women readers like to know. Maybe via Seona's journey they can get tips how to deal with their own relationship. I'm reading now Love by the Book by Melissa Pimentel. You might wish to read it. Maybe Ms. Lee can give tips to Seona what to do, and let her follow the advise.