Not too long ago, I came across a contest that I decided I had to enter. This contest is in celebration of the release of the book Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade. Besides being an author, Krystal is an acquisitions editor for Curiosity Quills. You can purchase the book by clicking on the picture.
The winner of this contest will receive a full request from Curiosity Quills press.
Like I said, too good to resist!
Without further ado, here is my query and first 500 words of Blood of Trees (my regular readers will know this as Weeping Willow, but a title change was definitely in order . . .)
Dear Ms. Wade,
The barren northern wastes are the only home Ysabel has ever known, but she doesn’t know that staying there will kill her. Finding the trees that haunt her dreams is her only hope.
To save her life, Ysabel’s father arranges for her to marry Matthew, a duke. Leaving behind everything to travel south to Matthew, Ysabel discovers her own powers with the dryads her mother once ruled.
This is exactly what Matthew’s mother, the Duchess, hoped for, but her plans are turned awry when her son actually falls in love with his betrothed. The Duchess knows Ysabel’s true birthright and won’t hesitate to destroy anyone who stands in the way of her controlling the power the half-dryad girl possesses.
But Ysabel didn’t know that her link with the dryads would feed a growing taste for blood and revenge. She is still half-human, though, and her soul won’t last long on the dark path she begins to embrace.
BLOOD OF TREES is a stand-alone New Adult fantasy novel, complete at 82,000 words. It will appeal to readers who enjoy the feel of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO.
Thank you for your consideration,
Blood of Trees (first 500 words)
The Northern Knight, called Richard by those he loved, had woven the containment spells around Ysabel’s suite hours earlier when the nurse took her to retire. His daughter was so young, barely even three. She was a miracle.
Tonight, he would be working a very delicate balance of magic. Ysabel must stay asleep, and the first small spell he cast ensured that she and her nursemaid would not be disturbed by anything, be it magical or physical. But as he whispered the words to end the chant, blood-scent filled his nostrils.
He had to work faster.
Spells were fragile, and he worked as quickly as he dared to extinguish the candles around the room. He began a new chant, his voice strong and forceful. Spells for sleep required a delicate touch, but spells to interfere with blood magic and death required strength.
At first, it seemed nothing was happening. He kept chanting.
The night crept in, barely noticeable, first clinging to the shadows and corners of the room. Gradually everything around him faded, hiding even the blazing fire on the hearth. The light ceased to exist. It was more than just darkness. It was a void, absorbing every particle of illumination around him.
In the moment when light was almost extinguished, Richard made the connection with his brother’s blood, focusing on where to find it. There were a hundred leagues to travel. This would require more strength than he thought. Drawing on the power with the dark, he began to whisper.
“Light of moon, be my path.”
Richard was certain his eyes were open, but nothing broke the darkness. The moon was full. Even if he couldn’t see it, the light was still there.
“Take me now to where I ask.”
With a sudden, quiet stillness, he was gone. The void went with him.
# # #
Darkness surrounded him like a shroud, and only the fact that he still drew breath allayed his fear. The shroud loosened as he found his bearings, but it lingered in the forest. He was too late.
Moonlight filtered through the branches, and his eyes quickly adjusted to that small amount of light after a journey through the void. Any glimmer of light is a beacon when surrounded by shadows.
The scent of blood hung heavily in the air, cloying and sweet. His stomach churned. Alderic’s blood had called him here, but he had never been able to sense his wife’s. Where were they?
With a cry, he realized the heap beneath the shadows of the trees was their sleigh, overturned at the side of the trail. The reindeer lay slaughtered on the ground, their fur soaked with blood that seeped into the snow beneath them. Their entrails were strung across the forest floor. Wind blew softly through the trees, and he sensed the magic curling along its path.
This had been planned.
A noise interrupted his shock. It was faint, but very close.
“ . . . ard . . .”
It was his brother’s voice.
To find a list of the other writers participating in this contest and to read their entries, please visit this post at Sharon Bayliss’ blog.