Saturday, February 1, 2014

SVS AGENT Round Entry 15: QUEEN OF THE NIGHT, YA Fantasy

Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 71,000

My main character is most uncomfortable with:

When I was a kid I loved doing winter activities. I could sled, ice skate, or make snow angels until I couldn’t feel my fingers and Dad would insist I come inside. The beauty of a snowfall was something to look forward to, but last winter changed all that. Now snow reminds me I’ve lost my father. Sparks and ashes from the fire rained all around us, but grief clutched my heart with an icy hand. I can’t forget the pain on his face while he lay dying on a carpet of white. Or that I’m to blame.


Like most eighteen-year-olds, Sarah Knight doesn’t believe in magic, but when she unlocks a door to her father’s secret homeland, using magic might be the only way to survive.

Grief over her father’s death brings Sarah to his land, Zyris. There his people, rebels called the Night, have long crossed swords with the king. Years ago a prophecy foretold  that the Queen of the Night, a powerful magician descended from an immortal race, would defeat the king of Zyris. Puzzled by new skills, including extraordinary hearing and the ability to be invisible, Sarah is thrust into the heart of the coming war when she learns that she is this expected queen. She’d rather return to the safety of home, and seeks Prince Liam’s help. As the heir to the current ruler of Zyris, he should be her enemy. Instead his ocean-blue eyes and deep concern for others make her melt.

But when the only portal to her world is destroyed, the war overrules Liam’s heart and he decides that she must die. Crushed by his betrayal, Sarah escapes to the Night. The ruthless leaders of these rebels have a gruesome plan to use her powers to assure their victory, and will kill her themselves if she doesn’t cooperate. Sarah must find the courage to resist becoming their evil queen, or she’ll destroy her chance to bring peace to all of Zyris and heal her broken heart.

First 250:

I gave the last newspaper microfilm to the librarian and walked outside at twilight. Another day in Peebles with no proof that Dad came from Scotland. Putting a hand to my tired eyes, I bumped into someone.

“Ach, lass,” the man said with a slight brogue. “Mind yourself!”

His warm brown eyes and that accent, both so like Dad’s, brought a sharp reminder of loss. I forced my mouth into a contorted smile to cover a sob. “Sorry.”

“Nae harm done.” With a wink, he walked away. Still, he shook his head as if to say, “Crazy American teenager.”

I sighed. Not wanting to return to the hotel, I called Aunt Nora and within a few minutes, she knew what I’d learned—nothing.

“It’s like he didn’t exist before he went to college!” Did she hear the catch in my voice?

“Maybe he was from another town.”

Or maybe he hid his magic extremely well. I pressed the heel of my hand against the tension in my forehead, so not ready to start believing in hidden magical kingdoms.

“Are you doing okay?” Even an ocean away, the softening of Aunt Nora’s voice revealed her worry that this trip on top of my grief would overwhelm me.

What overwhelmed me was that frying potatoes in a pan had led me here. Suddenly I was back, choked by the smoke of my house in flames. My hand crept to my throat and I swallowed, desperate to dispel the memory. Four months had passed, but the guilt remained.

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