Name: Michelle Hauck
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy
Word Count: 90,000
Movie Genre: Ramiro would approve of movies like Die Hard or Rocky. Stories that show real men earning their beards.
Pitch: Never wrote one. But it would say something about Ramiro's city being surrounding and him needing to find allies among their tradition enemies the witch women of the swamp. He has to get beyond the hate and go above his precepts or Colina Hermosa and everyone he loves will burn.
Ramiro guided his horse to the waiting ranks of the pelotón, taking his position at the back of the long file of riders along the dusty road. Sweat slicked his palms inside his leather gloves. He maneuvered his mare, Sancha, sidestepping her into position among the other soldiers. In their rightful place, he laid the reins across his knee, signaling that he’d be using his legs, not the leather straps.
Ramiro wedged his feet in the stirrups as Alvito moved his mount alongside, pinning Ramiro between him and the next man. “Don’t look so pale,” Alvito said. “You’ll not earn your beard this day.” He stroked his own neatly sculpted black whiskers, adding a wink to cut the sting of his words. His beard was artwork, all straight lines and right angles, shaved to the edge of the jaw.
From Ramiro’s other side, Sergeant Gomez gave him a playful push with a fist the size of a ham. The force would have knocked Ramiro off his saddle if he hadn’t locked his legs. Gomez’s beard was a study in opposites from Alvito. A nest of brambles to his chest, his hair grew wherever it could sprout. “Rookie. You’ll stay the bisoño until we tell you otherwise.”
“Peach face,” someone said from the middle rank. A gentle ribbing to let Ramiro know they remembered this would be his first real ride.
First ride. First time as something other than a trainee squire brought along to clean armor or mind the warhorses.