Holiday Query Blog Hop

In case you’re not here from Michelle4Laughs, she’s hosting a Holiday Query Blog Hope.

This is actually a query for a WIP, and my first foray into writing middle grade.So, please tear it to shreds and offer advice. 🙂

Quilla is biracial (African American and Mexican) and Deaf, but that’s not mentioned in the query because it isn’t the focus of the book, and I’m not sure of how or if it should be worked into the query. Any thoughts on that are greatly appreciated. Also, I’m not sure about the bio part. I don’t have anything published to mention, so don’t know if what I’ve included is relevant or if I should just take out all the personal info.

And Wonderland is a tentative title for the novel and the world. This isn’t a retelling, but does have fairy tale elements from many different tales, especially since Quilla is a bookworm.

Second Attempt:

Eleven-year-old Quilla is the only biracial Deaf student in her Southern school and has read more than anyone else in the sixth grade, but those are the two most least interesting facts about her. Quilla creates worlds by wishing on dandelions.

It’s been six months since Quilla’s sister, Amy, died in the first world Quilla created, Wonderland. Six months since Amy’s face was plastered across the news and the hunt began. Six months since Quilla was chased out of Wonderland by her sister’s murderer and promised to be killed if she ever returned. Assured by the fact that no one she created can leave Wonderland, Quilla wants nothing more than to get through sixth grade unnoticed at a new school.

But Aaron is her in Pre-Algebra class. Aaron, who has only ever lived in Wonderland, is on Earth, and has a message she can’t dare to believe: Amy is alive. Quilla can’t pretend her worlds no longer exist. Aaron has to be lying, but there’s only one way to find out. She must return to Wonderland, but Wonderland is nothing like she remembers.

Wonderland is burnt and destroyed and dying. It is no longer a matter of convincing Amy to stop playing queen and return home. It’s a quest to save Wonderland and all the other worlds she created as a child. No one but Quilla can save Wonderland and she has only three days to save the worlds and take Amy home. Except Amy doesn’t want to leave. Quilla must make the ultimate decision—to sacrifice Wonderland and drag her sister home or save Wonderland and return to Earth without her.

Wonderland is a middle grade novel complete at 60,000 words. It is a standalone novel though there is room to expand the universe. It will appeal to fans of Catherynne M. Valente, Anne Ursu, and Branon Mull. This is my debut novel. I have a Bachelor’s in English from East Tennessee State University and work part-time as a bookseller and a Youth Services Library Assistant. Thank you for your time and consideration.

First Attempt (I’m assuming I’m going to be doing edits, so I’m gonna go ahead and number these)

Dear Blog Hopper Critters:

Eleven-year-old Quilla wants nothing more than to make it through her first year of middle school unnoticed. But that’s impossible when everyone knows her as the Deaf girl whose sister disappeared six month ago. She doesn’t want to remember her sister, Amy, dying in a world Quilla created by wishing on a dandelion. She wants to pretend all the worlds she created don’t exist. She wants to forget Henry promised to kill her if she returned to Wonderland.

But Aaron is in her Pre-Algebra class. Aaron who lives in Wonderland, where Amy died, and should not be able to come to Earth. Aaron, who has a message Quilla can’t dare to believe: Amy’s alive. Quilla can no longer pretend her worlds don’t exist. Aaron has to be lying, but there’s only way to know for sure. She must return to Wonderland.

Wonderland is nothing like she remembers. It’s burnt and destroyed and dying. It is no longer a matter of dodging Henry and convincing Amy to stop playing queen and return home. It is a quest to save Wonderland and all the other worlds she created as a child in only three days. But can she save both Amy and Wonderland? Can she sacrifice Wonderland and its people to save her sister or will she say goodbye to Amy to save her world?

Wonderland is a middle grade novel complete at 60,000 words. It is a stand alone though there is room to expand the universe. It will appeal to fans of Catherynne M. Valente, Anne Ursu, and Branon Mull. This is my debut novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Fall First Page Blog Hop: YA Fantasy

Sleeping Beauty

The forest in front of Elsea was a dense wall of impassable black trees.

It was alive.

She could hear it breathing.

Her lungs seared with each sharp breath. Her muscles shook with fatigue from running for the past ten miles. She hadn’t rested in seven hours, and she was not going to start now. Not when she was this close to avenging her parents’ death and rescuing the prince.

The forest of her bedtime stories loomed in front of her, more horrific than she imagined during the countless nights she spent in the crowded bedchamber at the Home for Abandoned Souls.  Elsea remembered the way Chloe’s voice would drop to a whisper when she talked of the gruesome sand traps that grabbed hold of unsuspecting traveler’s legs and sucked them into the earth without any warning. Trees that appeared dead, but breathed and could be felt on the back of her neck, waking her up where the darkness was very real and not just imagined.

It was as if the trees had been sown from rotten seeds and the decay had seeped into everything around it. They didn’t grow as normal trees. The dead, black, oozing trees twisted and spiraled into the gray above. Those closest to her, barely illuminated by the light from her torch, didn’t grow straight from the ground. The bases of the trees were flat, curved at a sharp angle before curving again then straightening. A dark gray sludge dripped from the bend, gurgling toward the black ground.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Preview) by V.E. Schwab–Review

I received an egalley provided by the publisher, Macmillian-Tor/Forge, through Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.


I’m not sure there are enough adjectives and synonyms to describe how ridiculously magical, wonderful, amazing, fantastic, dark, and spell-binding the preview was. Okay,     so perhaps I have a few more adjectives than I thought, but seriously, the first 1/3 of the book was stunning, and I can’t imagine how it will all play out.

First of all, there’s Kell, a Traveler, who travels between the different Londons delivering letters (the only item allowed to go through the different Londons) for the different ruling families. Kell is one of the last Antari’s, those with magic in their blood and able to travel between the four Londons: Red, White, Black, and Gray. Though no one goes to Gray anymore, as it’s been sealed off after magic devoured it.

Then, there’s Kell’s coat, which is the most fantastic piece of outerwear I’ve ever encountered in a novel. His coat is its own character to me now, and I need it. I need it so bad. It is long and sometimes billowing and turns from left to right instead of inside out and there seem to be an almost endless array of possibilities to wear it. Plus, I just really have a thing for male characters in great coats like Sherlock, Mal, Captain Jack Harkness, Spike, etc. Now, I get to add Kell to that list.


The world building is superb. I love the idea of parallel Londons, each with their own ruler and rules and ideals about magic, and how different and similar they are. I wish I could talk more in depth about it, but I don’t want to ruin anything. The characters are intriguing and multi-faceted. And the villains? The twins Athos and Astrid? Dear God, they’re creepy and horrific human beings (though human may be a bit of a stretch). I was repulsed by them and their actions, but I desperately want to know about them and am simultaneously terrified to discover more.

And now I have to wait. Do you know how far away February 24th is? OVER THREE MONTHS. What am I supposed to do with myself until then?

This is the first novel I’ve read in a while that drew me in completely. I’ve read three and half books in the past three weeks, and I liked them, but I didn’t love them. They were just missing something. A Darker Shade of Magic has what the others were missing.

Part fairy-take, part political intrigue A Darker Shade of Magic is sure to be fantastical ride perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and anyone who craves brilliant characters.