Blood of Trees by Rebekah Loper – Curiosity Quills Contest
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.
Good luck with the contest. Your novel sounds pretty great, and the title ‘Blood of Trees’ caught my attention.
Thanks, Nissa! I completely failed at getting around to the CSFF blog posts this month >_<. I will have to drop by and see what you had to say about Beckon 😀
Good luck Rebekah. I so love the title!
Very exciting! I love your descriptions. It really amps the tension the scene. I felt right there in it. Great job!
Thanks, Victoria, glad you enjoyed it!
With each new post I read, this contest is getting harder and harder (for me). 🙂
I know, they’re all pretty awesome, huh?! I don’t envy you having to decide.
but that means you have lots of options! 😀
This is good, Rebekah! After reading the query, I’m very intrigued. And I love the title. Extremely ominous…
😀 Thanks! That was the intent, glad to know that I’ve succeeded, lol.
The new title was a good decision. Blood of Trees really grabbed me. The only suggestion I would make for your query is including the age of Ysabel as this would help toward identifying your story as a New Adult novel. I rather enjoyed your excerpt.
Thanks, Angela! I think I thought about her age at one point, and it completely slipped my mind. Whoops!
Very interesting title. The one think I would work on is active voice. Showing more rather than telling. Other than that, I love the whole concept! This is definitely a book I would read in a heartbeat. I found myself asking for more at the end!! Best Wishes.
I really like your writing style and the premise of the book. I also love the spelling Ysabel!
Glad you enjoyed it, Carrie-Anne!
Wish I’d heard about the contest earlier.
You can still enter, Sue Ann, just go read Sharon’s blog post today for more info and the link to the post with the rules 🙂
Very tension-filled and well written. The totally felt the magic in the prologue. Good luck with the contest!
Thank you 😀
Wow, this is awesome! And you already got a comment from Krystal . . . how cOOl is THat?! Good luck:)
Thanks, Jamie (and I know, right?!).
This looks awesome! Love the new title and the excerpt, and I love all the work you’ve done with the query letter. You’re rocking it out. Good luck!
Thanks, Becca, I couldn’t have done the query without your help 😀
Ahhhhh . . . . what happens next???
wouldn’t you like to know . . . 😛
Hi Rebekah, your query is looking great! I loved the intrigue in the first 500. My only feedback is to make it more concrete, I’m not really sure what’s going on, and I like to be grounded a little more in the beginning. Good luck!
Overall I loved your premise and first 500 words. I agree with Sharon that the query was a little vague. I have problems with this myself. 🙂 The only other thing that jumped at me was the word: blood-scent. I was left feeling a little lost… thinking what scent? As you don’t follow on with a description. I would just change to: The scent of blood… just my opinion of course 🙂 Good luck
Thanks, Jade! I know blood-scent is a little confusing, and it’s something I’ve had a lot of feedback over previously. Sadly “scent of blood” doesn’t cut it for what I’m trying to convey, so it’s with careful deliberation that I’ve made the choice every time to leave it “blood-scent”. As soon as I figure out something better, I’ll do it, lol!
I was totally captivated by your opening scene! Well done! Strong tension. I’d love to see a bit more concrete detail in the query. It worked in that I was intrigued by your premise, but I was really hooked when you got to your first 500. Good luck to you!
Thanks, Kimberly 🙂
The only comment I have about the query is that it’s more about the Duchess (Dowager Duchess?) than about Ysabel.
Although I’m not generally a fan of prologues, this one is intriguing. I’m not quite getting enough of a sense of loss or outrage from Richard, though.
Thanks, Meredith :). I’ll be tweaking the query.
As for Richard’s feelings . . . well, we’re about a paragraph away from that 😉
I agree with Meredith here … you say more about the Duchess than Ysabel.
Other than that, I really like it. Love the title, Blood of Trees … and that first scene sucked me right in 😉
Thanks, glad you liked it 😀
I really LOVED your opening, and I am not usually a fan of prologues. I was definitely drawn in, and wanted to read on, so well done.
I agree with a few previous comments about your query being too vague and not enough about Ysabel. Perhaps focus more on Ysabel’s perspective and journey?
Thanks, Larissa! I’ve heard so many things about not having a prologue these days, but this story just begs for one, lol.
Very interesting premise. Love the title. I do agree that the query should focus a more on Ysabel. Good luck!
Thanks, Nicole, good luck to you also!
Full of magic, mystic and intrigue. A very sound entry all round. Best of luck.
Thank you, Carolyn!
Hey Rebekah, great entry! I’m very quickly drawn in by your description of the magic. My only comment was on your query, in the second paragraph you start with, “to save her life”. This opening threw me because you mentioned that staying in her home might kill her, but that was all told in a very vague way, we had no idea what might kill her. Then you switch to the concrete with her life needing to be saved. I would either explain more concretely why she’s in danger or take out the part about saving her life. Good luck on the contest! 🙂
Hi Rebekah! Love the magical feel here! Wishing you the very best of luck with it!! 🙂 Nice to meet you!
Thank you, nice to meet you too! Good luck with your own story! 😀
Great premise, love it! And your title is awesome! I agree, having more focus on Ysabel in your query would let us hear more of her voice 🙂 I get a descriptive, eerily beautiful sense in your writing, nicely done!
Thank you, Hope! Glad you enjoyed it 😀
So good girl! I really liked the query and 500:)
Thank you, glad you liked it 😀
I really like the idea of this plot. Good luck!
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