For my regular readers, these are some special posts this week as part of a pitch contest I'm providing feedback for.
For participants, welcome to my blog! I'm happy to host you and excited to see what kinds of stories you've written. Please remember that only the author of this piece and the participating judges are supposed to comment. All other comments will be deleted.
Title: FOUNT OF POWER
Age and Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 90,000
In most ways, Tessa resembles the destitute masses of Avende. The Harian army drove her from her home, pillaged her nation and separated her from her beloved older brother, Aldo. She yearns for the same things as everyone else – to lead a normal life and for the recent peace treaty to last.
But unlike her fellow Avendese, Tessa possess Harian magic. Aldo forced her to use her powers to recruit soldiers to the Harian side, making them both traitors. If her true nature is discovered, she’ll hang for treason.
She needs to find Aldo and escape Avende as soon as possible, but the only person willing to help her is Captain Jerome Redat. An Avendese war hero, Redat gallantly offers her a job with his refugee company. Starving and out of options, Tessa accepts. But working with the Avendese military puts Tessa in constant danger of discovery. And as her feelings for Redat grow more tender, she’s not even sure she wants to escape anymore.
But when Aldo tracks her down, it’s clear that hiding her abilities will no longer be an option. Aldo and the recently defeated Harians are already marshalling their numbers, but they’ll need Tessa’s powers if they want to succeed. And joining them would mean far more than losing Redat. It would mean another war.
First 250 Words:
Tessa’s basement window let in the faintest smear of sunset, just bright enough to illuminate the dust in the air. Outside, footsteps tromped in unison along the cobbled streets. The Avendese soldiers marched through their evening rounds, making certain no one remained on the streets of Sarcey past curfew. Ocean air blew through the brick walls, tracing damp tendrils along Tessa’s skin. There would be snow again tonight.
But neither the wind nor the soldiers concerned Tessa, their rumblings as familiar as the ache of hunger. Her ears were primed for a stealthier, more malicious foe. She might have ferreted it out already, but the little boy nestled against her side was restless.
Chay shivered, rubbing his hands until flame sparked at his fingertips. “C’mon, Tessa.” His breath curled in a frosty puff. “Let’s light the fire.”
“Not yet.” Tessa placed a finger against his chapped lips. “I know I heard something."
Chay sighed, but with a shake of Tessa’s head, he pressed his hands together and extinguished the conjured flames. Bless him, he hated disappointing her, even though he didn’t understand her worries. She pulled him close, trying to squeeze him warm.
The soft thrum of water against wood.
“Do you hear that?” Tessa’s grip tightened around Chay.
“No.” He stifled a yawn.
“A leak. There’s a leak in the flat.”
Sages, how was she supposed to plug a hole in the roof? Now they might freeze to death before the soldiers even got a chance to shoot them.