Thursday, May 17, 2012


Genre: YA fantasy romance
Word count: 85,000


Sent away at age sixteen to serve as an artist in a foreign ruler’s court, Princess Delfina is eager to leave her uncle’s palace. Not only will she get to use her training as a painter of illuminated manuscripts, but she will delay the looming threat of an arranged marriage.

The price to be paid for such an opportunity? She must gather information for her uncle, the ruling Khan of Karavai. No easy task, since the Khan expects her to charm Prince Darclor--one of Karavai’s worst enemies--into sharing his secrets. Yet when Delfina meets the handsome young prince, his deep passion for the arts charms her. But as long as he poses a threat to her homeland, she cannot risk falling in love with him.

Upon learning she must return to Karavai, to marry an aging, half-crazed monarch, Delfina runs away. Only too late does she learn that her uncle promised her to Darclor instead, to secure an alliance between their kingdoms. When Darclor captures her, seeking revenge for the humiliation she caused him, Delfina must win back his heart. If she doesn’t, he will turn her over to the Khan, who knows just how to punish disobedient nieces--by imprisoning them for life. 

First page:

The door to the palace workshop burst open, disrupting the silence of the afternoon. One of the younger apprentices stood there, catching his breath. “The Khan is coming for his inspection!”

I looked up from my work, placing the delicate, squirrel-hair paintbrush next to the unfinished page. My uncle was coming. Now. And I was in no state to greet him. “I thought he wasn’t due to visit until next week.”

“No, he’s on his way. He’ll be here within minutes!”

Master Giordani strode to the center of the room and clapped his hands together. “On your feet! Put everything away except the pages for the Khan’s book. Fetch them from the shelves and place them on the table. Hurry!”

Without hesitation, all of us--the apprentices, calligraphers, and senior artisans--were up and moving. To the untrained eye, the studio appeared a chaotic mess, the wooden tables crowded with paper, reed pens, brushes, and oyster shells filled with oil paints. Every bit of it was essential for our work, but the Khan would regard it as clutter.

Giordani reviewed the pages, nodded in approval, and then ordered everyone to stand in line. I lingered by the shelves until he caught my eye.

“Delfina, you need to join the others.”

“I don’t think I should. If I leave now, you won’t be blamed for my unkempt appearance.” I wound my finger around a stray curl--one of many that had escaped from under my headscarf.


Michelle Mason said...

Art, love and intrigue? Count me in! Go #TeamKrista!

Noelle Henry said...

I really love the idea of a princess who paints illuminated manuscripts! What a great idea! You've done a fabulous job of incorporating unique details into this opening as well!

Sarah Henson said...

I may be a bit biased, since my story involves art too, but I love your premise. Go Team Krista!

Becky Mahoney said...

This looks right up my alley. As Michelle said, bring on the art, love, and intrigue!

Anonymous said...

Great work! Go Team Krista!

Suzi said...

This sounds like a great story. Good luck to you.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great romance! I love the tension that you bring into the very first scene.

Lisa K. said...

You hooked me at the painting of illuminated manuscripts...and the excerpt is beautifully written! Go Team Krista!

Anonymous said...

This is a world I would very much like to visit!

tlbodine said...

Best of luck to you!

Ben Spendlove said...

Nice job with the query. It's hard to sum up a complicated plot well, but you did. And talk about high stakes!

Jennie Bailey said...

Poor Delfina! I love that she has to charm him and win back his heart. I'm a sucker for a good fantasy with a strong female MC and you've got it!

TYHatch said...

I enjoy a strong female MC. Yours seems very interesting.

Good luck!

Becca C. said...

I love this - I feel like the query has just been taken up a notch since the last version I read. It looks so great!

Leigh Ann said...

1. Okay, just the GENRE of this one makes me want to read.
2. Darclor sounds delicious.
3. This girl has ATTITUDe.

Love it. Good luck!

April Wall said...

From the query alone, I'm desperate for these two to end up together! Good luck!

erica m. chapman said...

Great concept!! Love a good love story ;o)

Valerie said...

These pages hooked me in. I'd love to read more. I sense a very tense scene to follow! :)

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I love the illuminated manuscripts - I'd love to read more of this. Great opening scene! Good luck to you!

Tricia Quinnies said...

When Delfina set down her
squirrel-hair brush I was hooked.
Good luck!

Tara Dairman said...

#6 The Fallen Princess
Illuminated manuscripts! Avoiding arranged marriage! You sucked me in right away. =)

In the first sentence of paragraph 3, cut the comma between “Karavai” and “to marry…” Later, to keep things firmly in the present tense, you might revise to “the humiliation she HAS caused him.” And in the last sentence, I’d go with a colon instead of the em-dash.

First Page:

I like the scene overall—you do a nice job of setting it—but I wasn’t enthralled by the first line. In fact, from the first paragraph I thought that this would be a third-person story, since there’s nothing in there that seems to be specifically filtered through the MC’s consciousness. I think that inserting some kind of detail in there to make it more personal (a very bad example: “The breeze hit my face as the door to the palace workshop burst open…”) might be worth considering.

Also, you seem to be going to great pains to avoid dialogue tags. I don’t think that one or two would be out of place, especially when the MC is speaking—since this is a room full of people, it’s not always 100% clear who’s doing the talking.