Title: The Fashion Mages
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Word count: 50,000
Is Your Antagonist Hot or Cold:
My name is Avarette Chervault and I'm cold as winter crystal. I guess you could call me the antagonist. Hazel certainly does. But I'll tell you a secret: Hazel is lazy. She could be so much better than she is but doesn't bother. Great for me, since it means I beat her in every project we sew. Which is as it should be since my mother is the best couturier in the world. Because of that I have the most refined sewing skills in class. You'll never forget the frost of my wit or the chill of my disdain.
Twelve-year-old Hazel Baxter has loved fashion ever since her tailor grandfather taught her how to sew. Her lifelong dream has been to attend The Academy of Thaumaturgical Fashion and Design, an exclusive school that teaches students to combine magic and couture, creating the most fabulous clothing in the world.
The midterm in Intro to Sewing should be easy. But the Professeur sorted the class into groups. Does the teacher realize who she's dealing with? Fashion students don't play nice. Not only is Hazel stuck with the worst seamsters in class, but her bitter rival Avarette planted the idea of a contest in the teacher's head. Now the midterm comes with a fantastic prize Hazel is dying to win. The chance to go to an exclusive fashion launch and meet her design idol in person.
Of course Avarette has to show up everyone in class and use an enchanted silk she got from her couturier mother. Hazel figures her best chance is to fight magic with magic. She spends her team's money on invisibility fabric they can't afford.
Which fails. Miserably. Never mind what Hazel did. It wasn't her fault... Even though the whole team blames her. They're out of time and patience with Hazel. If she doesn't swallow her pride and apologize, her team will go down in flames like some idiot caught mixing polka dots and plaid.
Hazel's dream prize is slipping from her grasp and she only has one last chance to redeem herself and win. She can already hear Avarette's smug laughter...
The horse drawn omnibus clattered as it turned onto Rue de la Riene. The over sized, double-decker carriage stopped with a lurch that threw Hazel into the back of the woman standing in front of her. She bounced off the woman's ample backside.
The woman gave Hazel an ugly pinched glare. "Shove off," she snapped.
It took rudeness as well as coin to ride the omnibus. But no one ever put much effort in.
"Excuse you," Hazel said and slid out of reach between two other passengers.
This was her stop and she shoved her way through the drab crowd of morning commuters. Parted by her sharp elbows, they let her by with a flurry of parting curses and grumbles. She jumped off the last step, her boots thumped on the cracked and frosty pavement. Cold winter air cooled her cheeks, refreshing after the press of bodies in the carriage.
She went to school in a palace.
Four stories of ochre brown stone soared against the city skyline just beyond the iron gates surrounding the Academy of Thaumaturgical Fashion and Design.
The omnibus driver snapped his reins and the horses whinnied as they moved on to the next stop. As the carriage rumbled on Hazel's heart swelled close to bursting with a thrill that hadn't worn off after four months.
Hazel adjusted the fur trimmed velvet crown on her head, making sure it was at the perfect jaunty angle. She smoothed her wool cape and long black trousers.