Monday, October 1, 2012

1st Rd Sm Press Contest #10 - Forbidden Secrets

YA Fantasy/Paranormal


Seventeen-year-old senior, Kyra Siefert races toward two goals - a full track scholarship to college and defending her state cross-country title.  Things change when Kyra is attacked while on a training run.  Now she's plagued by terrifying visions that wrench her into an alternate reality at the most inopportune moments – like in the middle of the crowded cafeteria, or while having a heart-to-heart with Aidan, the über chivalrous guy who sits next to her in Calc.  Trying to forget about the mugging and avoid the label “Koo Koo Kyra” are priority number-one.

Eighteen-year-old Aidan MacGregor might be immortal, but he's not invincible. Grieving and guilt-ridden over the death of his twin almost two years ago, Aidan uses his expressive drawings as an escape.  When Aidan agrees to do a portrait of Kyra, a romance between them quickly develops.  But bound by a strict code of silence and honor, Aidan can't tell Kyra he belongs to a clandestine society of Celtic immortals who guard an ancient Masonic treasure trove.

In this Romeo & Juliet meets Highlander, Kyra becomes the pawn for one rogue immortal pursuing the sacred treasure, and another seeking to settle a centuries-old blood feud. Aidan must make an impossible choice: betray his family or protect the girl who's claimed his heart.  But haunted by visions of Aidan’s death, keeping her secret may ultimately cost Kyra everything – including the boy she loves.

First 150 Words:

I always failed at ordinary.
Ordinary wouldn't have weird, freaky, come-true dreams or a scar that ached when something god-awful was about to happen. Ordinary wouldn't have guilt hanging over her head like an anvil. And ordinary would snuggle under the warmth of her down comforter, especially on a rain-soaked Sunday.

Instead, I dashed down the hardwood stairs with iPod in hand, prepared to hammer through six miles in under forty-two minutes and praying the twinge in my scar was weather related.

Mom sat at the kitchen table, reddish-blonde curls boinging in all directions. She squeezed her forehead, like trying to stave off a tension headache. Without looking away from the Asheville Citizen Times, she handed me my cell phone. "Sweetheart, do us both a favor. Humor your father with a response."

Dad's text read: Love the hills and they'll love you back. Before I'd finished reading, the phone chirped with more pre-workout advice: Be one with the mud.


Honey Badger said...

Hey, Entry #10!

I’m going around giving everyone at least one critique and one positive today. (Maybe more, if I spot something helpful.)

- I'm intrigued. :)

- This sentence stumbled me: “She squeezed her forehead, like [she was] trying to stave off a tension headache.”

Best of luck! :)

Heather M Bryant said...

The choice you give at the end of the final paragraph needs to be reworded. You've told us he needs to choose either betraying his family or saving the girl and to me, that's an obvious choice. I think you might have meant, betraying his family or sacrificing the girl. Not sure, but as is it doesn't have the same effect.

That was really the only thing I picked up. Strong query and opening paragraphs :)

Mara Valderran said...

Nitpick: Trying to forget about the mugging and avoid the label “Koo Koo Kyra” are priority number-one.

Those are two priorities that are probably tied for number-one. :)

One point of confusion after reading the first 150: Is she having visions of a possible reality (as in the future) or by visions of an alternate reality (like a parallel universe)? That makes the difference with the line that says she is haunted by visions of Aidan's death. If what she dreams comes true, then that ups the stakes even higher.

I love that it is Romeo & Juliet meets Highlander! The premise sounds very intriguing and definitely something I would read! I hope you make it to the next round!

Lone Star said...

The query is well-written, but is sounds like a romance query. Is this a romance? If not, you may need to focus more on the meat of the plot. What is the MC's primary goal? What gets in the way? Right now it sounds like it's mostly a story about their relationship.

Nitpick - First paragraph, last sentence, I think it would work better without "And". "And" makes me think you're going to continue on with the "Wouldn't" line.

Good voice, the first 150 was strong overall. It's weird that I said this for two different entries but the scar that hurts when she's in danger just makes me think Harry Potter.

Lone Star said...

P.S. Can you do better than "Forbidden Secrets" as a title? Forgive me, I'm a title snob. :)