Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bouncer Post #67

Title: STRAY
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 90,000


STRAY is a YA Fantasy where magic is a curse that only women bear and society is dictated by a strict religious doctrine called The Path.

Princess Aislynn knows all about the curse.  It's a part of her, like her awkward nose and thin fingers. It's something she can't control. And girls who can’t control their abilities have a tendency to disappear. So for her own protection, Aislynn is sworn into the order of Fairy Godmothers where she must spend the rest of her life chaste, and devoted to serving another
royal family.

Tasked with tending to the sweet, but sheltered Princess Linnea, Aislynn also finds a reluctant friend in the palace gardener, Thackery, who makes no secret of his disdain for her former life. The more time they spend together, though, the more she begins to doubt the rules she has observed so obediently. As Aislynn’s feelings threaten to undo the sacred vows she has taken, she risks not only her own life but Linnea’s as well. With the princess engaged to a devoted follower of the Path, there are some who would do anything to keep Aislynn from straying.

A cross between WICKED and Roald Dahl's MATILDA with a dash of Grimm's fairy tales, STRAY is the first in a potential series.

First 250:

Aislynn’s fingers were bleeding. The garden was dark and quiet and cold and she was standing alone, watching blood drip onto the tops of her slippers. It was a dream, but knowing that made it no less frightening. Deep within her chest came a familiar and horrible sensation. As if her heart was a copper pot, set atop a relentless fire, Aislynn could feel herself begin to simmer. Filled with wishes instead of water, magic was the fire that fed them.

She knew what was about to happen next but there was nothing she could do as her kettle heart cracked, releasing the magic she so struggled to keep contained. Her blood burned. In the darkness, Aislynn could barely see the first tendril emerge, but she could feel thorns scratching against her ribs. With a jerk, briars burst from her chest, slithering down her body, each sharp point drawing delicate red lines along her limbs. Beneath her skin they curled around each bone until she was made of only flesh and thorn. Vines tickled against her chin and as they wrapped themselves around her silent screaming throat, Aislynn could feel her heart stop.  

She woke, tangled in sheets and nightmares. The linens were easily discarded; one powerful yank was enough to free her legs and torso, relocating the blankets to the foot of the bed. The dreams, however, were more persistent and lingered, the way the scent of bread hovered in the kitchen air.


  1. I loved your query and your first 250 absolutely leave me wanting to read more. Good luck!!

  2. Pretty strong writing in the first 250. That was a powerful and effective image. Given what I know from the query, I like that it maybe foreshadows her involvement with the gardener. Good stuff. I think maybe the query could be tightned to eliminate things that aren't necessary at that stage - like being chaste. It just makes you ask why when that isn't important at that stage. Again, the writing was very strong.

  3. Holy poo! Chills! This was really great! Good luck!

  4. Ooo, I like this one. I want to keep reading :)

  5. The query really makes me want to read more. AND the first 250 are so powerful. Great job and good luck!

  6. Love the darkness in this!
    The only thing I would suggest for the query is to move the first paragraph towards the end. Then you'll hit the ground running. :)
    Good luck!

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  8. Now THAT is a concept I would want to read more about. Who would have thought that being a fairy godmother is a kind of punishment? Excellent entry. Best of luck!

  9. Bouncer IheartbooksFebruary 13, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Your query and premise sold me. Your first 250? Not so much. You've probably heard it before, but starting with a dream sequence can get the yawn, so you might want to consider revising. ;) Even so, you're in! Good luck!

  10. I like your premise a lot, and your query hooked me. The first 250 pages? Not so much. You may have already heard this, but to start with a dream sequence may get some yawns...even so, I'm passing you on to the next round. Good luck! You're in!

  11. Yay! Congrats on making it through to next round!!

  12. All right! Way to go, Stray! Good luck next week! :)

  13. Thanks everyone! I'm so excited!!!

  14. Congrats! It's obvious from the writing you're a strong story-teller and this story begs the reader to be engrossed. I especially love the "cross between" description! :)