Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blind Speed Dating #35

Title: SLEEP
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 72,000


Sleep isn’t easy for fifteen-year old Lia Lewiston. Since the night of her parent’s car accident when she was five, she’s dreamed of being chased through the forest by a hunter wielding a ruby-hilted knife. She believes her nightmares are simply leftover trauma – until the hunter who slays her in her sleep shows up at her new school.

Now, Lia doesn’t know what to believe. Every night, he stabs her through the heart, but by day Colson Vane becomes an unexpected friend. Bonded by their foster-children status and mutual disgust for the Gentry, the school’s ruling elite, Lia finds herself turning to Colson—especially when her god-sister Catherine joins the Gentry, and sneers at Lia’s faery-touched oddness. Because Lia has a secret—a secret her parents died to protect—about the seven pixies she inherited at her christening, and the gift of faery sight.

But she’s not the only one with a secret. When Lia is attacked at school by a vicious faery, Colson comes to her rescue. Colson, who shouldn't be able to see the invisible folk. Then her reoccurring nightmare changes, and the terrifying Faery Queen steps out of the woods, revealing another christening gift—a curse kept hidden from Lia, of death on her sixteenth birthday to stop a faery prophecy from coming true. Now Lia must decide if she can trust the boy she has fallen in love with, or fight for her life—at the cost of his—against the hunter cursed to kill her.

SLEEP, a YA urban fantasy retelling of Perrault’s dark Sleeping Beauty tale, is 72,000 words. While intended to be first in a fairy-tale quartet, which includes the stories of Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella, this is a stand alone novel.

First 250:

Black clouds puff from the trees, trailing up like wispy smoke. Fear prickles my palms with sweat, because I know what happens next. He’s coming. Same as he has in a thousand other dreams.

The surrounding trees beckon me with pointy fingers, and a shiver bristles from the base of my spine to my scalp, but I keep my gaze forward. Pretend not to notice their hollowed eyes or their grinning mouths as they reach for me. CAUTION, the crooked road sign ahead warns. I need to run but I’m rooted in the middle of a gravel road.

When I hear it – the crunching of gravel paces ahead – my stomach jumps to my throat.

Crunch. He moves closer.

Crunch. Closer still.


The hunter moves into sight, fingers clenched white around the ruby-encrusted hilt of his knife. My heart screams for me to run, and when my feet pull free of the road, I whip around, pitching forward.

The grinding footsteps behind me signal the chase is on. I fly down the road, and even though I know what happens next, I pray that maybe this time my dream will change.

But the hunter is faster. He grabs my arm. Hooks my leg with his foot and I fall face first. Then he is on me, breath warm on my neck.

“Don’t do this!” I beg as he jerks me onto my back. “Please!”

The hunger in his eyes eats me up.

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