Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bouncer Post #76


Title: THE BOY WITH SOMETHING EXTRA
Genre: YA/Sci-Fi Romance
Word Count: 111,000 words

Query:

Roman Vallo is a florist with a secret: he can make plants grow. Fast. Overnight, in fact. When he abandons war-torn Earth for the promise of a Utopian world light years away, he falls in love with his guide, a member of the empathic governing race.  Roman soon realizes that neither falling in love with your guide nor his own gift can be kept secret for long on a world full of psychics. His ability is soon discovered, and Roman is swept into an evolutionary tug-o-war between the seemingly benevolent host race and the quiet, monk-like race they oppress, both equal in psychic powers.

With each side invested in his progress, Roman must figure out who is telling the truth, and how to protect his future as he becomes both the pursuer and the pursued.  In an intense stand-off after a three-night grand masquerade ball, Roman has to choose between the life he thought he wanted and the life he was born to live; both are choices demanding great sacrifice from him, and even greater consequences for the world.

The Boy With Something Extra is an adventurous coming-of-age story about a simple florist whose life becomes anything but simple.  This is my first novel, but I recently had a short story published in “Blood Sacraments” (Bold Strokes Books), which was a Book of the Year award finalist by ForeWord Reviews.

First 250:

Though he was but one of a hundred bodies being shuffled along the gauntlet of handlers, Roman was determined not to give them any satisfaction at his discomfort.  He knew it was much worse for the women –he’d much rather deflect their contempt and revulsion than bear their hungry eyes.  He could think of no good reason to be put through this dehumanizing catwalk, but the military needed no license, and his government, though compensated handsomely, took every opportunity to shame emigrants for escaping the religious wars.  He clutched his elbows to his ribs, avoiding any brushes with the handlers, and marched toward a hopeful future.

Roman raised his eyes to see a line of soldiers marching past him, holding tightly to the cumbersome weapons resting on their unprepared shoulders. The guilt of being spared their fate was tough to swallow, but those thoughts quickly abated when his own uncertain future nagged at his tired mind. Confined to the waiting deck, he sat impatiently on one of the hard terminal benches with nothing but his hoodie to shield him from the nettling drizzle.  

He reached into the travel bag for the thick pamphlet he’d been given. Its cover displayed photos of a sunny Mediterranean-looking world awash with soul-quenching color and warmth, and the title "Home. At last."  He choked back the memory of his mother’s senseless death to keep from falling apart in the middle of the airfield. He looked numbly at the kind and friendly Nordic-looking faces in the photos, and the name of the planet beneath them: Ganthys.
 

17 comments:

  1. Nice tension building in the first 250! The only thing I'd suggest is to put Roman's age in the query. I had to look at the genre to see if it was YA.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bouncer IheartbooksFebruary 13, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    I'm waffling here. I like your query, and I think the premise is intriguing. But your first 250 aren't quite there yet. Even so, I'm passing you on to the agents. ;) You're in! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love how the writer made me 'feel' Roman's inner turmoil, and I'd love to know more about Roman's adventures in his new home. Well done! I really hope to read this entire story soon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was really drawn in during the first 250. I want to read more and get to know Roman more! Sounds very promising. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with Carmen - really nice build...you had me hooked immediately and left me wanting more. Setting up a story is never easy, much less in 250 words, but your telling description had me feeling the grim desolation of Roman's situation. Best of luck - I hope to read more!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can't wait to read the rest of the story!!! I'm hooked - totally hooked.
    Well done!
    LBC

    ReplyDelete
  7. Am so in love with the title. And everything that comes after it :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hmmm this makes me want to read more; it's a great opening. Definitely interested in reading more!

    M~

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like the suspenseful opening!! Very good build. So many questions I want to ask... I'm enamored, and want to read more!! Very well done!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Terrific, strikingly original premise and fantastic writing. I love the mix of genres and this definitely makes me want to read more!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm the mom of an 11-year-old boy, and we still read together at night. The opening to this novel left me wanting more, especially after I read the description above it. Kids today are very tuned in to what's happening in the world around them, whether it's environmental decline or restricting civil liberties. I was intrigued by the protagonist being an emigrant of the "religious wars"--I think that could resonate well with the young-adult audience. Also, it's not clear from the description what the sex of his guide is, but I wonder if perhaps Roman is gay? Having more gay protagonists in YA literature would be wonderful! The times are changing, and more LGBT kids than ever are out or struggling to come out at that age. Nice work--hope to see more of it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yes, Roman is gay. Though this is not the source of his struggle, and that's intentional.

    ~The Author

    ReplyDelete
  13. You paint a vivid picture, and I was swept up into the scene you set immediately. I want to continue on, and read the rest of the story. It's an intriguing premise, and not derivative like so many YA books that are out there. I think you could create a new series here that many readers will find refreshing and exciting. I want to read the entire novel now.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I really like what you've written. I can not wait to read the rest of the story.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love how you throw us right into the action, at a critical moment in your hero's life. This starts with a bang and I can't wait to learn more about Ganthys and the races who live there. I agree with one poster who said Roman's age is unclear from the pitch, but I'm sure that will be cleared up early into your first chapter. The world you set up feels intense and full of possibilities. Looking forward to reading more!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your writing has a wonderful visual quality - I felt completely immersed in your story and transported to another world!

    ReplyDelete
  17. An intriguing beginning! There's so much in that first 250 that has me asking questions, wanting more. What happened to his mother? How/why is he escaping the religious wars? Is he a consciencious objector? Why is he "hopeful" in circumstances as stark as these? The writing here is fluid and un-selfconscious. I can "see" the scene easily. I'd like to read more!

    ReplyDelete