A 2015 Pitch Wars Success Interview with Tracey Enerson Wood and her mentor, Alex White
Nov17

A 2015 Pitch Wars Success Interview with Tracey Enerson Wood and her mentor, Alex White

The successes from last year are still rolling in along with our new ones! We’re so excited! Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests is being a part of a writer’s triumphs. Today we celebrate Tracey Enerson Wood and her Pitch Wars mentor Alex White! Tracey recently signed with Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency and Lucy Cleland of Kneerim & Williams Agency, and we couldn’t be happier for her. So please join me in congratulating Tracey and Alex as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story.     Tracey, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Alex? I thought it would be interesting to have a male perspective on my manuscript, as all of my critique partners were female, yet my male beta readers did seem to enjoy it as well.  Also, the numbers of mentors for adult manuscripts was limited. Alex, what about Tracey’s application made you choose her?  Are you kidding? Who could say no to Emily Roebling and a romance with PT Barnum? In all seriousness, I was attracted to the brutality of old-school construction contrasted against the fight Emily faced. I really enjoyed Sara Gruen’s WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, so this book fell squarely into my wheelhouse. Tracey, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars? Alex would throughly critique a chapter or two at a time. Then we either went back and forth on email, or had a phone call. It was always exciting to get his feedback, and he shared insights which took my manuscript to another level.  Alex, tell us about your experience with mentoring Tracey. Tracey was a pleasure to work with. Her ego never came into it, and she’s a consummate professional. I expect any editor who works with her to be similarly pleased. Tracey, after Pitch Wars you signed with Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency, and Lucy Cleland of Kneerim & Williams Agency, tell us about “The Calls.” Can you tell us the details about the offer: How long were you on submission? What did you do to distract yourself? How did they contact you? How did you respond? How did you celebrate? Anything! We love knowing it all. My experience was a bit convoluted, as I had an offer of publication for another project in the middle of my offers. I queried Jill Kneerim in June, 2016, with my PW manuscript, and a junior agent, Lucy Cleland, requested a full right away. A couple of months later Lucy sent an email, saying she loved it and requested a phone call!! In the phone call, she reiterated how much she loved the story, but she and Jill thought a sub-plot needed some revision....

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Pitch Wars Insights by Michael Mammay
Nov15

Pitch Wars Insights by Michael Mammay

  Now that the agent round for Pitch Wars this year is over, I want to talk about some of the hard truths that sometimes get glossed over in the excitement. Pitch Wars is awesome, and it helps a lot of people, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a magic ticket. You still have to put in the work, you still have to keep growing, and publishing is still an incredibly subjective business. To illustrate some of this, and offer some insight, I asked the people from the Pitch Wars 2015 class some questions, a year after they got accepted. 71 people responded. Here are their answers.   As you can see, not everybody had a life-changing experience, and only about half the people have an agent a year later. To get a feel for how getting an agent changes someone’s opinion of the contest, I took a look at the people who got an agent, to see if they had a different  average result. Those without agents averaged 3.6 when rating their experience. Those who now have agents averaged 4.6. It’s impossible to say for sure that people were more satisfied just because they had a better result. There are a lot of factors at play – it could be the fact that they connected with their mentor made it a good experience, which then led to getting an agent. But there’s certainly some correlation. In my opinion, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Getting an agent is obviously the goal, but the most important thing, to me, is what you learned. To that end, I asked people to rate where they see themselves today as compared to a year ago.   When you talk about Pitch Wars, and even other contests, a lot of what you hear about is the community, and how that’s the best thing you get out of it. I asked some questions to see what mentees thought.   There is a bit of a bias in this data, since if people aren’t in the Facebook group anymore, they probably didn’t see the call to join the survey.  The statistics nerd in me has to note that as an opt-in survey, while the data is useful, it’s not completely scientific. Lastly, I wanted to ask some questions that might help people who were considering joining Pitch Wars next year. It’s not too early to start. I started writing the book I entered into Pitch Wars 2015 in November of 2014. Are you considering it? Here’s what our mentees had to say. So of the 71 people who responded, two of them wouldn’t do it...

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FAITHFUL by Pitch Wars Mentor, Michelle Hauck … release day!
Nov15

FAITHFUL by Pitch Wars Mentor, Michelle Hauck … release day!

The next volume in the Birth of Saints series is available now! Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series! A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it. Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army. What they find instead is an old woman. But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice. A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy. Faithful– November 15, 2016 Harper Voyager Find It: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | HarperCollins | Goodreads   Also enter to win a signed paperback of Grudging, the first book in the series:  a Rafflecopter giveaway A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood. On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps. The Women of the Song. But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out. A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Lynn Vroman and her mentor Judi Lauren
Nov14

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Lynn Vroman and her mentor Judi Lauren

Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests is being a part of a writer’s successes. Today we celebrate Lynn Vroman and her Pitch Wars mentor Judi Lauren! Lynn recently signed with MacKenzie Fraser-Bub of Fraser-Bub Literary, and we couldn’t be happier for yer. So please join me in congratulating Lynn and Judi as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Lynn, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Judi? Her bio, definitely! Judi was actually my first choice because I felt what she was looking for fit the description of my manuscript. There were issues I was concerned about with my hero, and from her experience, I thought she’d be a perfect match to help me. And no surprise, she was! Judi, what about Lynn’s application made you choose her? Lynn became one of my unofficial mentees because she was really *too* ready for Pitch Wars. It really is a thing! Her book was heartfelt and amazing and I fell in love with both the hero and heroine, but I knew she could do the revisions I was thinking of in just a few weeks. I didn’t want to hold her back for roughly two and a half months when she didn’t need all that time. I was actually a little bummed to realize that because I was so drawn to her voice in that book! It was one of the most engaging first chapters I saw in my Pitch Wars inbox. Lynn, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars? Judi has been so amazing and supportive! She agreed with what I was initially concerned about and gave a quick edit letter with great suggestions on how to fix everything. I worked every spare moment on re-writes and after a couple weeks sent the ms back to Judi, who turned over some line edits a week later. It was a great experience working with her! Judi, tell us about your experience with mentoring Lynn. Lynn has been incredible to work with! She was so open to suggestion and ready to work. She went through the big-ish edits in just a handful of weeks! Then I took about a week to do some small scale line edits with her (because she really was almost ready!) And then I sent her back out into the world of querying. I had a gut feeling that she was an awesome person, and working with her over these past couple of months has been so much fun! Lynn, after Pitch Wars you signed with MacKenzie Fraser-Bub of Fraser-Bub Literary, tell us about “The Call.” Can you tell us the details about the offer: How long...

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Pitch Wars Agent Showcase . . . Adult and New Adult Entries
Nov04

Pitch Wars Agent Showcase . . . Adult and New Adult Entries

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase! Adult and New Adult entries … For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns chose mentees and work with them for two months to make their work shine. Our amazing mentors chose one (some cases two) writer to mentor from nearly 2000 entries for this year’s for the agent showcase. For a list of the amazing agents participating in Pitch Wars 2016, go here and here. AGENTS: To make requests, simply peruse the following entries and enter what you would like to have the writers’ send you in the comments of the posts. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions. PLEASE only agent comments. All others save your comments until after the agent round. If you would like to cheer on your friends, go to the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars and show your support there. Thank you! Here are the links to each entry’s post for your convenience…   PW #101: Adult Literary/Magical Realism (#ownvoices): THESE ARE THE DAYS WITHOUT HER Pitch: When immigration takes Yolandi’s breadwinning aunt under suspicion she’s a coyote, Yolandi and her sisters are abandoned—again. Adults this time, they’re old enough to know: pay the rent or end up on the streets. Hoping to rescue her tia and keep the family in ice-cream sandwiches and toilet paper, Yolandi pens an over-the-top zine. But the Cervantes women aren’t ready for the family secrets they’ll uncover. READ MORE . . .   PW #102: Adult Fantasy: THE LAST WITCH OF CAELHEARTH Pitch: Throughout Willa’s young life, strong magic was forbidden. But when the rebellious Baron arrives to conscript her village, her own magic erupts. She kills a man, fails to save her beloved, and is kidnapped by the Baron, who wishes to shape her into a weapon. If Willa resists, he’ll slaughter her village. But cooperation would destroy her kingdom. READ MORE . . .   PW #103: Adult Historical Fiction: THE LAND BETWEEN KINGS Pitch: In Viking-occupied Ireland, outcast jurist Cathal investigates a murder for the Irish king, unbeknownst to his Norse employer. Meanwhile, Norsewoman Ragna guards a dangerous secret that will entangle her in Cathal’s inquiry. As war looms, Cathal must play both sides or end up dead—and Ragna’s freedom depends on his silence. READ MORE . . .   PW #104: Adult Fantasy: THE PROTECTOR OF THE SEVERN Pitch: When a treaty negotiation turns into an ambush, Protector Cira Conwy is forced to outrun assassins with her only surviving bodyguard, Lt. Ethan Daniels. While escaping across the Severn midlands—and falling hard for the lieutenant—Cira is blindsided by the reemergence of a weapon that could change the course of...

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Pitch Wars Agent Showcase … Middle Grade Entries
Nov04

Pitch Wars Agent Showcase … Middle Grade Entries

  Welcome to the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase! Middle Grade entries … For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns chose mentees and work with them for two months to make their work shine. Our amazing mentors chose one (some cases two) writer to mentor from nearly 2000 entries for this year’s for the agent showcase. For a list of the amazing agents participating in Pitch Wars 2016, go here and here. AGENTS: To make requests, simply peruse the following entries and enter what you would like to have the writers’ send you in the comments of the posts. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions. PLEASE only agent comments. All others save your comments until after the agent round. If you would like to cheer on your friends, go to the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars and show your support there. Thank you! Here are the links to each entry’s post for your convenience…   PW #201: Middle Grade Magical Realism: DOPPELGÄNGER Pitch: The vitiligo on Tami’s skin has always made her lonely. When her new classmates mistake her for their missing friend Renee, Tami’s strange connection to her doppelgänger grants instant popularity—along with access to Renee’s dark secret. If Tami sets things straight, she’ll lose her newfound friends. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose herself. READ MORE . . .   PW #202: Middle Grade Contemporary: THE WINDUP Pitch: After losing his twin brother and his right hand in a car crash, thirteen-year-old Kyle struggles to return to baseball and fulfill the dream he and his brother once shared—winning the Brookhaven Invitational Baseball Tournament. READ MORE . . .   PW #203: Middle Grade Contemporary Adventure/Humor: FRANKENUT Pitch: When a downtrodden squirrel meets a talking GMO peanut, rumors of a bagel monster no longer seem far-fetched. Armed with a dollhouse fork and a lot of heart, the unlikely duo must work together to uncover the secrets of a biohacker’s lab before a friend-turned-foe destroys their only chance at solving the peanut’s mysterious origins. READ MORE . . .    PW #204: Middle Grade Historical Fantasy: AN IMPOSSIBLE MAGIC Pitch: Already an expert at manipulating illusions, 13-year-old Verity Ravenwood helps her father’s blackmarket business by stealing a book of impossible spells for a notorious outlaw. But when the book gets stolen from her, she must track it down before the outlaw makes her entire family pay. READ MORE . . .   PW #205: Middle Grade Mystery: THE ORDER OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE Pitch: When her mom dumps her at boarding school, Ginny figures things can’t get much worse. Then a secret society tries to steal her only link to her missing...

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Pitch Wars Agent Showcase . . . Young Adult Entries
Nov04

Pitch Wars Agent Showcase . . . Young Adult Entries

  Welcome to the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase! Young Adult entries … For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns chose mentees and work with them for two months to make their work shine. Our amazing mentors chose one (some cases two) writer to mentor from nearly 2000 entries for this year’s for the agent showcase. For a list of the amazing agents participating in Pitch Wars 2016, go here and here. AGENTS: To make requests, simply peruse the following entries and enter what you would like to have the writers’ send you in the comments of the posts. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions. PLEASE only agent comments. All others save your comments until after the agent round. If you would like to cheer on your friends, go to the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars and show your support there. Thank you! Here are the links to each entry’s post for your convenience…   PW #301: Young Adult Thriller: FLASH MOB MURDERS Pitch: Amateur vigilante, Lia Finch, vows to take down the flash mob that murdered her father. But when she follows a lead to Chicago’s Navy Pier and dozens of mobbers ambush a new victim, she soon realizes the deadly consequences behind her obsession.  READ MORE . . .   PW #302: Young Adult Science Fiction (Own Voices LGBT+): THROUGH GILDED VEINS Pitch: When Anna, an outlaw-mechanic, and Nathaniel, the nobleman hunting her, discover the government is behind an epidemic of heart-defects like theirs, they must work together to overthrow Nathaniel’s father before he stops all their hearts. READ MORE . . .   PW #303: Young Adult Urban Fantasy: THE MEMORY KEEPER Pitch: Skyla Jenkins has mere hours to find her sister Morrow’s memory book before the rogue memories that escaped it steal her twin’s identity forever. THE MEMORY KEEPER features an inconsistent narrator. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets FROZEN. READ MORE . . .   PW #304: Young Adult Literary Thriller: THEN BEGGARS WOULD RIDE Pitch: Everyone believes Gwen’s boyfriend is a cult leader. After disappearing without a word, he’s resurfaced as the Beggar with a goal to spread “The Message” far and wide. Not willing to lose him, Gwen hits the road to bring him home. But as she and his ragtag disciples trail in the Beggar’s wake, Gwen discovers his mission is much more sinister than just preaching.  Told as a prison confessional, it’s THE WALLS AROUND US meets THE DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD. READ MORE . . .    PW #305: Young Adult Fantasy: THE PHANTOM, THE SPY, AND THE CROWN Pitch:  Dreyden would rather play soldier than prince. Elika joined the Royal Army so...

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PW #301: Young Adult Thriller: FLASH MOB MURDERS

Manuscript Status: Finished Mentor: Dawn Ius Mentee: Kimberly Gabriel Title: FLASH MOB MURDERS Category/Genre: Young Adult Thriller Word Count: 78,000 Pitch: Amateur vigilante, Lia Finch, vows to take down the flash mob that murdered her father. But when she follows a lead to Chicago’s Navy Pier and dozens of mobbers ambush a new victim, she soon realizes the deadly consequences behind her obsession.  Excerpt: Damp air scrapes my throat and burns my lungs every time I inhale. It’s too heavy and cold for this time of year. Not that anyone else seems to mind. Instead, hundreds of tourists taunt me with their perfectly capable lungs as they flock about Navy Pier like it’s the only acceptable place to celebrate Labor Day weekend.  Their impulses are flawed like that. They come from places like Plainfield, Iowa and Hartville, Ohio where I’m sure they lead normal lives. But here, tourists become hoarders of magnets and sweatshirts and shopping bags plastered with Chicago’s emblem. They amble along with their blithe expressions, marveling over the city’s height and the way its buildings shimmer on a gray day like today. They eat Dot’s ice cream, take pictures of the new Rejuvenation mansions along Lake Michigan, and ignore the warnings about walking in groups fewer than four. They’re easy targets—all of them. My chest tightens, forcing the air out of my lungs. I glance at my purse slumped beside me on the weathered slats of the bench. As tempted as I might be to reach for my inhaler, today is not the day to show that kind of weakness. I pull the sleeves of my sweater over my palms and pick up the Truman Capote book in my lap. I begin to reread the same paragraph I’ve read a dozen times in the two hours since I’ve arrived. But before I finish the second sentence, I’m already distracted, wondering which of these tourists is about to...

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PW #302: Young Adult Science Fiction (Own Voices LGBT+): THROUGH GILDED VEINS

Manuscript Status: Finished Mentor: Linsey Miller Mentee: Rosiee Thor Title: THROUGH GILDED VEINS Category/Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction (Own Voices LGBT+) Word Count: 80,000 Pitch: When Anna, an outlaw-mechanic, and Nathaniel, the nobleman hunting her, discover the government is behind an epidemic of heart defects like theirs, they must work together to overthrow Nathaniel’s father before he stops all their hearts. Excerpt: There was nothing quite like the first tick of a new heart. The TICCER stuttered to life in Anna’s palm. Its pendulum swung back and forth, a metronome moving in time with her own clockwork heart. Tick. Tick. Tick. “Damn.” Grandpa Thatcher threw down his instruments with a clatter. Anna’s gaze snapped to the surgical table where their young patient lay prone, chest open. “What is it?” “His condition is more severe than I thought.” Thatcher leaned forward to get a better look. “Glasses.” Hands shaking, Anna pushed his spectacles back up his nose. Complications in surgery were more common than not, but Thatcher’s desperate tone still hit her at her core. She set her teeth against the memory of the last time the one-armed boy had gone under her knife. Thatcher pointed with a gloved finger into the boy’s chest cavity. “Tell me what you see.” Thatcher’s wheelchair demanded a short operating table, so Anna, who was taller even than the boys her age, had to stoop to see properly, struggling to look past the bouncy hair and upturned lips that made the boy more human than patient. She squeezed her eyes shut, then opened them on rigid, calcified valves and a thickened heart muscle. “It’s enormous!” “We’re surgeons, Deirdre-Anne. ‘Enormous’ isn’t an appropriate medical term.” Anna inhaled through her teeth. “It’s hypertrophic.” “Good. And what does that mean?” Thatcher’s fingers danced across the instrument tray. “He needs a TICCER, as you thought.” Thatcher grabbed the cauterizer in acknowledgement of her correct answer. He wouldn’t ask her to help. She didn’t want him...

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PW #303: Young Adult Urban Fantasy: THE MEMORY KEEPER

Manuscript Status: 2 week delivery Mentor: Lizzy Charles Mentee: Talynn Lynn Title: THE MEMORY KEEPER Category/Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy Word Count: 73,000 Pitch: Skyla Jenkins has mere hours to find her sister Morrow’s memory book before the rogue memories that escaped it steal her twin’s identity forever. THE MEMORY KEEPER features an inconsistent narrator. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets FROZEN. Excerpt: Tonight was the night a thousand mirrors would shatter. The real me would be lost in the shards, scattered in the darkness. My sister didn’t know. The last time I saw her she’d disappeared behind the etched glass doors of the Master Guild ceremony, dancing with her boyfriend, Jack. Soon the formalities would end and the real fun of the back-to-school party would start, out by the bonfire. Most parents and teachers would stand around and gossip by the buffet table. The students would sneak off outside for one last summer fling before classes began. But I wouldn’t be there.  Even though an urgent pressure threatened to squeeze the air from my lungs, I couldn’t leave without saying goodbye. There was only one way to escape what was coming and I wanted her to know how much I loved her. I clutched my chest, knowing the real person I was would soon be gone, forever severed from this life as it merged with the unknown of tomorrow. It would happen in one tiny step and fade as swift as my reflection disappeared from the glass of the mirror.  I pressed the crystal envelope to my mouth, fogging it with my breath and leaving a baby pink lipstick mark. I wiped it away with the heel of my hand. The pure gold seal was engraved with my name. Not my initial. My full name. Skyla Laenaya Rose Jenkins, in calligraphy. An invitation from the Diamond Guild was a rare sight, one not to be frowned upon. My fingers...

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PW #304: Young Adult Literary Thriller: THEN BEGGARS WOULD RIDE

Manuscript Status: Finished Mentor Name: Destiny Cole Mentee Name: Tracie V. Martin Title: THEN BEGGARS WOULD RIDE Category: Young Adult Genre: Literary Thriller Word Count: 64,000 words Pitch: Everyone believes Gwen’s boyfriend is a cult leader. After disappearing without a word, he’s resurfaced as the Beggar with a goal to spread “The Message” far and wide. Not willing to lose him, Gwen hits the road to bring him home. But as she and his ragtag disciples trail in the Beggar’s wake, Gwen discovers his mission is much more sinister than just preaching.  Told as a prison confessional, it’s THE WALLS AROUND US meets THE DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD. Excerpt: Transcript #1 First, you’re going to ask how we met. Everyone does. It’s not even the stupidest question people ask. That’s “How did you shave?” Once, I would have fucked with you, pretended that I cared if hair bloomed out of my armpits while I tracked my boyfriend from coast to coast as he meandered his way to hell. But now, I’ve watched people drown and I’ve broken a good man’s heart. I’ve killed someone. It’s no pleasure anymore to waste the few words I have left. What you really want to know is how a good girl like me could fall for a killer. You’re looking for specific beats in our origin story: he bewitched everyone with his charm, but in hindsight you could see the dark spots. I get this question most often from those with a strong belief that all people have souls, and by ‘souls’ I mean unchangeable cores of either good or evil. I get it. It’d be nice to think that Saul was born black-hearted. But he...

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PW #305: Young Adult Fantasy: THE PHANTOM, THE SPY, AND THE CROWN

Manuscript Status: Finished Mentor Name: Amanda Foody Mentee Name: Alison Brown Title: THE PHANTOM, THE SPY, AND THE CROWN Category: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy Word Count: 92,000 Pitch: Dreyden would rather play soldier than prince. Elika joined the Royal Army so she can assassinate the king. When a criminal organization steals a shipment of magic, Dreyden and Elika join forces to unravel a conspiracy to overthrow their empire…unaware of the secrets they’re concealing from each other. Marie Antoinette meets James Bond, TRUTHWITCH-style. Excerpt: Bullets cracked over the moonlit cobblestones of the Pont de Couleurs bridge. Prince Dreyden Ryecove crouched behind a statue of his ancestor and reloaded his musket, fingers deft in the familiar movement of powder and ball. When he’d volunteered to join the regiment guarding the Kaisian shipment of magic, he’d expected drunken theatre-goers, not a full-scale ambush. The cargo contained consumable magic capable of blasting buildings to rubble and forcing entire armies to their knees, and its delivery to le Quartier Militaire was supposed to be confidential. Someone had talked. Across the bridge, a soldier screamed and staggered back, clutching her shoulder. Dreyden cursed. How many of his comrades remained in action? Ten? Twelve? Church bells tolled, echoing through the city boulevards and out over the dark water. The drifting gun-smoke parted, revealing the toll-house at the bridge’s northern bank where enemy muskets aimed through the leaded glass windows. He leveled his gun. “You know who has to be behind this,” Henri Tatsuko warned beside him. “Bleeding skies,” Dreyden muttered. “Don’t say Ghosts.” Criminals rumoured to slip through walls and vanish into the shadows, the Ghosts’ random acts of violence terrorised citizens. No one knew their motives, and if they’d organised enough to steal the magic, the capital could descend into chaos. But if the Ghosts were the thieves and Dreyden managed to catch one, he could finally prove to his father that he belonged in the army, not the...

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