Title: PRINCESS AND THE PEACE
Nickname: Girls Can Be Princes Too
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 60k Own Voices because of black/brown and queer characters, and of course, the being raised by fairies part.
Eighteen-year-old Cal is no stranger to tragedy or secrets. Assassins murdered her father and brother when she was seven, leaving her kingdom without an heir. To avoid a civil war, she agreed to shed her identity as Princess Calliope and become Prince Cal. Being raised as a boy had its perks, including access to a throne otherwise denied her, but it also left Cal isolated and burdened by the weight of her secret.
A secret Cal isn’t so sure she can keep anymore.
For the past two years, tradition has forced her to participate in the Choosing, a ceremony intended to find the perfect wife for the prince. With the help of her mother, Cal set impossible standards that no matches could possibly meet, but she can stall no longer. If she doesn’t choose a bride soon, the council will become suspicious. Her mother, the queen, wants to choose someone easily manipulated to hide the truth, and Cal agrees…until she falls for Averi, an outspoken girl raised by fairies in the Enchanted Forest, putting Cal’s crown—and her life—at risk.
On the morning of the Choosing, I sat in an oak tree watching the sun rise over the Enchanted Forest. This was my favorite time of day. Most everyone except Cook and the scullery maids were still asleep or at least too sleepy to bother me. I could come out here and catch a few minutes of solitude.
This wasn’t just a retreat though; I was visiting my twin’s grave. The headstone marked Calliope lay just beneath this oak tree. Everyone had wondered why I didn’t choose a less ordinary tree or better yet, bury my twin in the graveyard with the rest of the royal family. I, however, wanted to be able to visit my twin in peace and everyone knows that oak trees are the best climbing trees. I knew that my twin wasn’t in the ground. My twin was somewhere among the clouds by day and the stars by night. Even at seven, I wasn’t stupid.
Now, I stared up at the morning sky, wishing I could speak to my best friend. I needed my twin more than ever today
“It’s Choosing day again,” I breathed, “My most dreaded day of the year. You know, if you were here, it wouldn’t be so dreadful. It’d be great fun. We’d laugh at the poor hopefuls instead of dread them. I think you would have liked the spectacle.”
I wrapped my right arm around the branch next to me like I was looping it through my twin’s arm.
~ VERSUS ~
Title: The Tsar’s Heir
Word count: 110, 000K
Gendre: YA fantasy
The Willed shall rule the Unwilled. This is the first law of Kaza, an empire where Will is the magic that gives one man the strength of twenty.
Sixteen-year-old Olesya is the tsar’s only child, whose strong Will and sharp mind makes her despise the customs that forbids women from fighting or ruling. When the tsar hosts a tournament to determine his successor, Olesya thinks her chance has come, that her father will finally recognise her potential and choose her as his representative. Instead he picks Russ, a commoner from the street, as his champion.
Russ walks into the court with nothing but the clothes on his back . . . and a secret; he’s not the beggar he pretends. He’s been sent by an underground organisation to win the tournament, assassinate the tsar, and abolish the laws of Kaza, that have enslaved Unwilled people for centuries. His simple task becomes complicated when he gets to know the tsar, a brilliant, yet lonely leader, who sees Russ as the son he never had. And when Russ falls in love with the tsar’s defiant daughter, he’s tempted to abandon his mission and betray those who sent him.
Olesya has plans of her own. Blind with jealousy to see her father lavish attention on a stranger, she does what no woman has ever dared; challenge the tsar’s champion to a battle of Wills. But Russ may be more than a match for her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t deny the growing attraction between them.
When the tsar is murdered before the tournament ends, he leaves behind an empty throne and an empire on the brink of civil war. Caught at the heart of the conflict, Russ and Olesya are forced to pick sides, and ultimately choose between love, loyalty, and ambition.
First 250 words:
The sunset reflected off the snow and white limestone, making the open-pit mine look like a great basin of blood.
An apt resemblance, I thought as the gong echoed through the quarry, signalling the end of the working day.
One by one the Kazich left their charcoal fires, tugging the whips from their belts and flogging Ryba into orderly lines. They didn’t touch us; the last law of Ryba law forbade it, and even Kazich feared death. Markov said it was the one law we could love, while we hated all the others. But in the fifteen years of my life I had found little comfort in that restriction. Kazich didn’t need hands to hurt us. When their whips failed there was Will.
I let the brick slip from my frostbitten fingers and crouched for a moment, savouring the strain leaving my arms. The ache in my back dulled as I took slow, deep breaths, a cloud of vapour forming before my face. The snow blanketing the stone beckoned me to lie down, close my eyes . . .
“Snow is a grave, not a bed,” A voice whispered in the back of my mind. The memory of a frozen corpse made me surge to my feet.
The mine was shaped like a giant bowl, cupped in a seam of limestone, the staired walls on either side evidence of over a century of quarrying bricks.
I found Alexei on a ledge near the centre of the pit, curled up beside a rusted shovel.