Well, I only have a couple more days of indecision. On Friday, the next phase of Gearing Up to Get an Agent starts up. Time to try to get my query in for the Pitch Polish part of the event. And I have to decide which story to send in.
I’m currently querying FIRE AND EARTH, a young adult fantasy.
When her country is invaded, seventeen-year-old Casora loses her battle against the berserker curse she was born with. The curse turns her into an unstoppable warrior, but that’s no use to her family when she must be exiled for the ferocious temper that goes along with it. She turns mercenary while searching for a way to tame the berserker. Hope comes in an unexpected form when she’s sent to rescue the scholarly Prince Tiaran.
The rescue leaves them stranded on the wrong side of the city walls by the besieging army. Now they–and Casora’s mercenary band–are the only ones in a position to stop the invaders. Casora teaches Tiaran how to fight. His special knowledge of the enemy allows them to devise a plan that just might work.
Even with Tiaran’s plan, the odds will be against them, but the situation becomes still more complicated for Casora. Now it’s more personal than defeating the enemy or freeing her people. Tiaran is the only one who’s ever called her curse a blessing or been able to calm her berserker rage. If she has a prayer of finding the serenity to conquer her curse, Casora must decide if she can believe that there’s any future for a battle-scarred warrior and a prince.
But I’m also making some revisions to MAGE STORM, a middle grade fantasy, and getting ready to start querying that one again.
Rell doesn’t want magic. He doesn’t dream of being a hero or a mage out of old legends. Certainly not a mage, after they all incinerated each other at the end of the Great Mage War. He’d just like not to be in his big brother’s shadow for a change. Someone should have reminded Rell to be careful what he wished for.
Mage storms, composed of the ashes of the wizards killed in the War, are the scourge of his world. The embers that fall like rain burn and destroy everything they touch. When he’s caught out in one, Rell is struck by a strange blue cinder that infects him with magic. That’s when the real trouble starts.
His father expects Rell to bring back the useful magic Da remembers from before the war. Rell wants to make his father proud, but his magic responds more to his emotions than his will. He can’t figure out how to make it do what he wants and the frustration only brings out one of its most dangerous aspects: fire.
Blowing apart the cave his family uses to shelter from the mage storms makes it clear that he’s never going to figure this out by himself. The next thing that blows up may be Rell himself, if he can’t find a better way to learn than trial and error. Turns out he’s not the only one–and not every solution to their problem is what it appears to be.
So what do you think? These aren’t posted for critiques at this time. That’s next week.
On another front. I think I’m within sight of typing the end on the first draft of my YA alternate history, THE BARD’S GIFT. Realistically, that one won’t be ready to start querying probably until next summer. But it’ll still feel good to type THE END again. It always does.