Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bouncer Post #142

Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 104,000


Seventeen-year-old tarot reader, Taliya Bogdanov, doesn't need the spirits to tell her she's messed up. Big time. Her clan has only one rule regarding fortune telling: never, ever read for a fellow Gypsy. A rule that’s been easy to keep— until now.

When Besnik Corsi, her brother Luca’s playboy best friend, kisses her behind the wagons, Taliya folds like her deck of tarot cards and gives him a peek into the future. A future she doesn’t expect. Or want. As current clan leader, Taliya’s grandfather should pass the title down to Luca. But the cards predict Besnik and then death for all three men.

Despite Taliya’s warnings, the fortune starts to run its course, and when her grandfather dies before naming a successor, the clan is left in a superstitious dither. If Taliya was right about his death, perhaps she’s right about who should lead them as well. No longer willing to accept Luca outright, the clan demands a competition for the title. A competition Taliya must judge. She is, after all, her grandfather’s only other descendant and the seer of the fortune.

Desperate to outdo each other, the boys push the boundaries of their novice Gypsy magick, and Luca accidentally unlocks a door to Otherworld— a terrible place believed only to exist in Gypsy folklore. A place where souls are split and trapped forever. Now, choosing between her brother and the boy she loves is the least of Taliya’s worries. She must find a way to retrieve Luca’s soul, and protect Besnik’s, before the rest of her foreboding predictions become reality. Unfortunately, for Taliya, changing the future is a whole lot harder than predicting it.  

First 250:

They warned me not to go about dukkering— not to read the tarot cards for no one but myself— and now I knew the reason why. It was too tricky to control the spread. The cards had a mind of their own, which was no fault of mine. It’s not like I cooked up the fortune to cause trouble. I just deciphered what the spirits showed me. But that’s not how he’d see it. In his eyes, I done it on purpose, and now he’d have my head, he would!

Panic twisted in my chest as I crept across our vardo, to the single, dust-covered window, and peeked up over the sill. A riotous group had gathered ‘round the campfire, their voices climbing higher every second, which could only mean one thing. He was coming for me. 

I dashed back to the dressing table and snatched up my Marseille deck, shoveling all seventy-eight cards into my leather sack without organizing them even a bit. I hadn’t time. He’d burn both me and them if he caught a glimpse of the either of us after what I done.

Ruined him, I had.

Down the vardo steps I flew, nicking a tattered scarf off the hook beside the door and tossing it over my long, black hair, so as not to look myself, as I skittered off into the woods. The air was crisp with autumn time and the branches a patchwork of leaves: amber, gold, and crimson, which I was grateful for. Better for hiding.


  1. I remember reading your first five on QT. I think your story is so unique and I like how it shoots out of the gates with action.

    You have a fan in me! Good luck in the contest!

    I'm #173

  2. I have a question about your query, but it may be me reading it incorrectly. You say that Taliya has to judge the competition, because she's the only descendent of her grandfather, but then you say she has a brother in the next paragraph. Just wanted to point that out.

    Aside from that though, the concept is neat. The accent threw me off at first, but once I saw what you were doing and reread your 250, it's really really good. You can write the accent well, which is not an easy thing to do at all (I seriously wonder how Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn with such fineness in that accent). Awesome job.


  3. Oh wow, a gypsy fantasy! This looks fantastic, and you have a killer last line in your query. Good luck! - #146

  4. Love the concept. Your query is clear and moves well. First sentence - I don't think you need the commas setting off the name. The first 250 is strong. Check the first sentence as you might have a double negative. Only small things, really. Great job and good luck.
    Amy (#168)

  5. Love the voice in the 250. Immediatly likeable, she is. I also thought the query started strong, (great opening) and though there is understandably a lot of info one has to give in the second paragraph--it kind of lost me. I had to re-read it a few times to understand the connections...but I'm slow.
    Just FYI.
    Best of Luck to you with your MS!
    ~Just Jill

  6. I think your concept sounds super interesting, and a gypsy fantasy has my interest alone. I think I'm with Spaced out Gal thinking your first sentence has a double negative, or something about it reads a bit wrong.

    My only other thought is maybe you can look at tightening some of your concepts in the query. It isn't long, but I think you can shorten up some areas to get across some ideas faster. I dunno, something to think about.

    Good luck with it.
    :) (#147)

  7. Thank you all for the wonderful comments! I appreciate it so much. :) Just to clarify- the double negative in the first sentence is intentional. My manuscript is written in a Romani (Gypsy) dialect, which employs double negatives as a normal part of grammer. I realize it might be risky having the accent in your face in the very first sentence, but I feel like it sets the mood and thrusts you into the culture. And I'll definitely look into tightening some of concepts in my query. Thank you all again!

    1. Totally see now where you're going with the accent and think it's a good choice to start with it. It's tough when we only got 250 words!