Monday, January 21, 2013

Bouncer Post #59

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Word Count: 78,000


Memories, lost identities, and expectations haunt Ashton Driver and River Morgan. They are strangers connected by a force that neither understands. Ashton wishes to succeed with his new mission to rescue the damsel in distress. After all, if he wins, he gets the girl. While River struggles to survive her curious identity crisis, decisions must be made before lives are lost or forgotten. 

Ashton is every girl’s dream with mood ring eyes and glowing tattoos that change with every new military command. Survival and protection of the weak comes natural to him. However, with the recent instructions to find the missing princess, his heart melts. Oh, the princess is beautiful all right, and smart, too. The catch? She’s one hundred years old. 

While Ashton prepares for his mission at the Shadow Academy, River fights for her life in a world where she is the target. She’s the Keeper of the Memory Book, an animated diary where she records the memories of everyone. It has the power to bring memories alive or erase them, never to be remembered. She must protect the Book and herself, or she’s destined to live as nothing more than a memory. When the Book is stolen, River is the first person to experience the overwhelming power of the journal.

Ashton and River eventually cross paths and their futures become more complicated. Ashton’s heart belongs to the princess, but he finds River mysterious, yet irresistible. River is an important piece to Ashton’s puzzle and he must discover why because the risk is way too high: return with his new princess bride or die.

First 250:

River tore a piece of material from the hem of her petticoat and wrapped it around her hand, clenching the cloth between her teeth. The white linen turned red before she finished tying the knot. Her stomach tightened and for a moment she thought she would be sick. Taking in a long breath calmed her enough to stop the shakes in her hands. An image laced with pink swirled through her mind, yet River didn’t recognize it.

I have to get away. How did they find me?  Oh God! What am I going to do? Where can I go?

Staggering to her feet, River leaned against the side of the wagon. She strained her ears for any noise, any movement. Nothing. She had to hurry, before they came back for her. No time to think, no time to waste. They would return once they knew their assassin had failed. She stared past the dried up, yellowing plants of the garden towards her house.

The shanty door swung back and forth, creaking a sad, singsong melody as if to say goodbye. Someone had been inside her makeshift home. Panic clamped down as she thought of the Memory Book.

Every muscle in River’s body throbbed, but she forced her legs to move forward. Her entire life hinged upon keeping the Memory Book safe, away from prying eyes. No one knew it existed. Except the Thief Takers. They had chased her for months lusting after the powers held within its pages.


  1. I really like your first 250. It's well-written, and I love the idea of a historical fantasy. I'm curious about what the Memory Book is, what River's connection is to it, and why someone else wants it so badly. I'd read on!

    From the query, I'm guessing this is a dual POV book. I'm not going to comment on how to query that because, honestly, I don't know since I've never done it myself. (Hopefully someone else will chime in on that!) But I do think you could completely delete the entire first paragraph of the query and start with your stronger second paragraph. I also think you could cut "their futures become more complicated" from the first sentence of your last paragraph. That's vague & it doesn't really add anything.

    I think you might need to be more specific about how/why River has anything to do with Ashton finding his princess. I love the idea of the forbidden attraction between the two. I can imagine that creates some great tension in the novel!

    Best of luck!

    Gail (#60)

    1. Thank you!
      I'll admit even the word Query scares me. I have yet to learn to get it right.
      I like your suggestions and will work on them

      *runs to edit*

  2. I love love love the phrase mood ring eyes!

    I agree that the first paragraph of the query is not need or maybe moved to the bottom. The second paragraph throws us right into things.

    Your 250 are very good.

    Good Luck!

    Mandy #61

    ps queries frighten the crap outta me too!!

  3. OK... so I think we can safely say queries scare all of us. ;)

    I do think that you need to cut back on yours? I'm no expert either, obviously, but it seemed a bit long and to complex with a lot of background information. The part about the Shadow Academy really struck me, but there was no more info on that. I would actually start your query there. Good luck!! ~#68.

  4. Thank you for your thoughts everyone. I've been eorking on a rewrite and plan yo post it in the comment section here when I get home. Is that okay to do?

  5. I think that you should start your query with the second paragraph—I just love the “mood ring eyes” description, and the idea of military-message tattoos sounds really original and intriguing! And I think that everything you lay out in the first paragraph is better shown by example later in the query.

    On your first page, I had a hard time getting a sense of River as a person; even when we go into her head, we get a sort of generic description of panic. I feel like those lines could be a really good opportunity to show more of her personality, her voice. You do a good job of conveying that she’s in danger, but without a stronger sense of who she is, I think that it’s hard for the reader to engage with her and care about what happens to her.

    Best of luck going forward!