Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blind Speed Dating #13 (YA)

Genre: YA historical fantasy
Wordcount: 67,000


If living in the slums of Paris during the Terror has taught seventeen-year-old Rose Estienne one thing, it’s how best to keep her neck out from beneath the guillotine’s blade: never talk to strangers. Especially if those strangers are aristocrats, clergymen, or werewolves. Rose is too focused on avoiding the human bloodshed in her city to pay much attention, but werewolves throughout France are being stamped out; such magical aberrations don’t align with the new laws of reason. Even so, Rose is well aware that werewolves are nothing but monsters sure to get her killed if they don’t finish the job themselves.

At least, she is well aware of it until she catches a werewolf trying to steal her mother’s washing.

When Rose comes face-to-face with Avar, she does not see a monster: she sees a boy not unlike herself, starving and alone and afraid. And when one of the city’s militant poor tries to kill Avar, she cannot help but stop the attack – an action that casts her as a traitor just like him.

Rose and Avar escape, but her family is arrested and thrown into prison, guilty by association. If Rose cannot somehow sneak them out, they will pay for her decision with their lives. The only question is how to rescue them without getting herself and Avar killed. Still, Rose is the only thing standing between her family and the guillotine, and she knows that even if it does kill her, she has to try.

A TERROR OF DARKNESS is a YA historical fantasy complete at 67,000 words. I hope it will appeal to readers who like the combination of realism and the supernatural in Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races. I am a writing major at Ithaca College, with a minor in history. My publishing experience includes writing the jacket copy and chapter blurbs for a series of “step-by-step” cookbooks from Flame Tree Publishing in London, as well as two literary agency internships in 2012.

First 250:

When the werewolf howled, Rose stabbed her sewing needle into her thumb.  She ignored the blood that smeared onto the shirt she had been mending and instead jumped to her feet, rushing to put an arm around her younger sister’s shoulders. Amalie shrank away from the grimy window they had been sitting beside, hiding from the monstrous sound within her sister’s arms. But even though Rose clutched Amalie to her with just as much fear, even though every hair stood up on the back of her neck, she could not help but peer out the window, searching the shadowed streets for whatever creature had made that low, bloodcurdling howl.

The streets below were bathed in the burnt glow of sunset, which transformed the muddy cobblestones into dusky gold and caused the houses of Saint Marcel to look less like buildings that had been pressed together between the pages of a book and more like haunted ruins, but the strange light did not reveal the crooked shadow of a werewolf. It was odd that they could hear one at all. Werewolves had not come close to Paris in years, not since the winter of 1789, the winter when it had been possible to freeze to death simply by trying to walk across the city. The wolves had circled in then, just as cold and hungry as the humans but by far more bloodthirsty for it. Rose would not mistake a werewolf howl, not after she had lain awake listening that winter.


  1. Love stories set during the Terror (and with werewolves)! 2 arrows fired for a partial!

  2. Sounds intriguing! I'd love to see a partial when the exclusives requested above have elapsed!