TITLE: (Entered in a contest, so shhhh 😉 )
GENRE: YA Science Fiction
WORD COUNT: 80,000 words
EXCERPT: “Cold?” Thomas asks.
I shake my head. How can I explain I’m not shivering because it’s cold, but because icy fear has seized me? I’m gripped with a terrible sense of foreboding. That woman is up to no good, and that’s putting it mildly. She’s plotting for my destruction. All I can think about is her glittery red dress and her sly smile. She was so angry. No. That’s not the right word. What was she?
That’s the word. Pure evil emanated from every pore. She enjoyed hurting me.
We parked at the lot’s far end, and we’re halfway across when bright headlights illuminate us. We both spin around, and I shield my eyes from the glare. An engine roars to life then settles down to a dull growl.
“Let’s keep going,” Thomas says, and we turn back toward his car. The growling gets closer. I glance behind me again. A red Corvette crawls after us.
It’s the woman. I know it is. I break out in a sweat. We keep walking, faster now. The Corvette stops. We’re almost to Thomas’s car. Tires squeal, and we turn again as the headlights bear down on us at a terrifying speed.
“What the—” Thomas pulls me out of the way as the Corvette tears by us, my hair flying into my face. Brakes slam, leaving black tracks on the pavement. The Corvette circles like a huge, fiery wildcat, drives between us and Thomas’s car, the engine revving.
Great. There’s nowhere to go. We’re about to get smeared across the pavement.
TITLE: Beyond the Stars, Past the Moon a retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon
GENRE: Science Fiction, short story for an upcoming anthology
WORD COUNT: 8,000 words
STATUS: First draft completed, with critique partners
BLURB: Astrid makes the mistake of landing on a derelict moon base above a planet with a corrosive atmosphere. Inside the base lives Milos, a lonely young man who always wears his space suit and a reflective helmet. The base seems familiar, like from a memory or dream. What isn’t Milos telling her? And why won’t he show her his face?
Milos waits for the one destined to break his curse. When Astrid arrives, he realizes she’s everything he’s dreamt about for the last five hundred years. Can he make her care for him when she can’t see who he really is? And what if the sorceress who imprisoned him wakes up and destroys them both?
EXCERPT: When I’m sure we’re going to implode, the pod goes motionless, and the noise ceases. Except for Spark who continues to yip. I open my eyes cautiously. There’s a red glow through the window. Are we inside the base?
I glare at Spark. “Shush.” She whimpers, turns in a circle and flops down to rest her pointed chin on her paws. I undo my harness. “Tegan, what’s the atmosphere like?”
“Full suit recommended, though Spark will be unaffected. It appears the lower deck of the base is safe, but the upper levels have a sulfur reading of—”
“Enough already.” I jam my helmet on. The seal hisses. The recycled air reeks of rubber and artificial twilberry. Lovely. “What about life forms? A simple yes or no will suffice.”
“Yes. One. Male. Sentient. Though…strange.”
“I can’t get a reading on species, but he is bipedal.”
“And hopefully friendly.” I’ve met others from different species and cultures, but never on my own. What if he’s hostile? Whoever tractor-beamed me into the base could easily blow me up, flood the hangar with radiation if he wants to salvage the pod for parts, or gas me if he wants to keep me alive to sell me to space pirates. But if that’s going to happen, I’d rather be out in the open than trapped in my pod.
I tighten the blade strapped to my thigh. Made from a sliver of freshum crystal, the knife will slice through anything. Dad fashioned it for me, setting my birthstone—a fiery-red star opal—in the hilt. He said it matched my hair. And my temper.
TITLE: The Two Queens of Kyrie Winner in the YA category of the 2015 First Impressions and the 2016 Genesis contests for ACFW.
GENRE: YA Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 80,000 words
STATUS: Complete revision in process
BLURB: Sixteen-year-old Tyrzah inherits an ancient bracelet that awakens a prescient gift within her. When her older sister, the newly-crowned Queen Samara, makes a treaty with the neighboring country Rhüghia, Tyrzah foresees the disastrous consequences. Her warnings go unheeded, and the high priest uses the ensuing chaos to further entrench the worship of the stars. The Nal, leader of the Old Ways, secretly anoints Tyrzah as queen, charging her to lead the people back to the Maker. Torn between saving her sister and saving the kingdom, Tyrzah must develop her emerging talent, dismantle a dangerous cult, and forge powerful alliances. Because only one queen can rule Kyrie.
“Shhh.” Father shakes his head, and we both look at the curtains drawn around the alcove where Samara still murmurs her prayers. “Your mother wanted you to have it.”
“Are you sure? Shouldn’t it be Samara’s?” Even as I protest, I pick up the bracelet, tilting it so the emerald catches the light with a green flash. A powerful surge sweeps through my wrist and forearm. I inhale sharply and almost drop the bracelet. The contact is painful but exhilarating. As the pain intensifies, my fingers curl around the bracelet. My hand glows golden. My bones are on fire.
The air crackles with energy, and my hair lifts off my scalp. I close my eyes.
Oil lamps blaze. People crowd the room. My fingertips smooth over the embroidered gold figures on my deep blue wool gown. I glance behind me at the empty throne.
“Put the bracelet in the bag.” The quiet words shatter my vision. I’m back on the bed, sitting next to Father. “In here.” He fumbles for the box.
I don’t want to obey, but he’s insistent. Finally, I pick up the velvet sack in the box and slip the bracelet inside. The sensation fades. My hand returns to its normal color. The bracelet hums for a moment then falls silent.
“I’m sorry,” Father runs his hand over his face. “I should’ve given it to you before.”
I hardly register his apology but stare at my arm. “This isn’t an ordinary bracelet.”