Title: THE GOSSAMER VEIL
Word count: 75K
Genre: Historical/Adult Fiction
Katya came of age in the 1930’s during Stalin’s brutal efforts to decimate her people in order to create a Communist Ukraine. She watched her family members starve to death one by one and buried her dreams of a happy ending along with the cold, bullet riddled body of the love of her life. Katya’s survival is a testament to her strength, but the choices she made came at a price. Now, in the twilight of her life, the survivor’s guilt she has silently kept buried for decades has come back to haunt her.
Summer Porter is sure of three things: she’s a disappointment to her mother, the only thing she's good at is art, and she is blindly stumbling through life with no purpose. Her great-grandmother Katya has always held a special place in her heart, but they haven’t been close since Summer was a child. Despite that, when Katya’s health begins to fail, Summer has no doubts about giving up her post college plans of studying art abroad to move in with her.
Their renewed relationship compels the old woman to do something she swore she’d never do: rip open the scars of her youth and tell her deepest secrets. Hearing these confessions awakens something profound in Summer that neither woman fully comprehends. It may be Katya’s only chance at the forgiveness she has spent a lifetime yearning for and Summer’s opportunity to understand who she really is and why her life is so important.
First 250 words:
When the first shot rang out, the basket my mother had so carefully packed for us to bring to my sick aunt slipped from my fingers. Bread spilled to the ground, forgotten, as I raced towards their house. My older sister Alina yelled out for me to stop, but her voice barely whispered in my ear. All I could hear was my cousin Sasha screaming.
Alina caught up to me with ease and tackled me to the ground. We landed in a snowdrift next to my aunt and uncle’s barn, hidden from view. I had almost made it to the yard. Her speed saved my life that day, but I didn’t thank her for it then.
“Katya!” she hissed into my ear. Our limbs tangled and the heavy cloaks we wore twisted around us, but it didn’t stop me from trying to wrestle away from her. My arm throbbed where her fingers dug into it. “Stop fighting me! We need to get out of here!”
“No!” I wrenched my left leg from under her and rolled onto my stomach. Snow made its way into my boots and under my thick skirts, but the icy crystals numbing my leg scarcely registered. “We have to try to help them!”
I yanked off my cumbersome cloak and left it behind so I could crawl away from her. Sasha’s screams had stopped, but now her quiet whimpering and my uncle’s pleading voice floated towards me through the sharp, cold air.
“Please!” Alina begged from behind me. “You know you can’t help them now!”
Entry Nickname: Leave it to fate
Title: The Sapphire Legacy
Word count: 75,000
Genre: Historical romance
Mae Blackthorne has been taught how to ride dressage, embroider pillows and dance the waltz. So when her brother’s death puts the family’s shipbuilding business in her hands, it isn’t long before the business is in bankruptcy and Mae is penniless. Forced to take a post as a governess, she thinks she’s doomed to a life of poverty. That is, until she meets Ethan Locke, a pirate who offers her an enticing opportunity to recover her wealth.
Unbeknownst to Mae, her family used their shipbuilding business to shroud generations of lucrative piracy. Locke, who was once partners with her father, has an old score to settle. He claims that her father stole from him an object of great value: a sapphire that can give its owner eternal life. As her father’s last surviving heir, Mae is Locke’s only hope of finding it, along with her family’s secret fortune.
Agreeing to work together and split the fortune equally, there’s no denying the spark of attraction between them. But they’re not alone in their search. The original owners of the sapphire, who operate an elite secret society, are far more powerful than Mae and Locke could've ever imagined. As the dangerous men close in, Mae fears she has much more to lose than just a second chance at luxury. She could lose any chance she has for love, or life.
First 250 words:
May 1836, somewhere on the Atlantic
Ethan Locke tightened his grip on two leather bound books, ready to run. The distant high pitch screech of a whistle signaled departure. He had only a few minutes to make it back to ship so he and his crew could set sail.
But he couldn’t go. Not just yet. Mixed in with the mahogany furnishings of the captain’s quarters, he caught a flash of gold. Behind red velvet curtains swaying with the ship, a small gold chest fell in and out of view. It was hidden for a reason. Without a doubt whatever was inside would be valuable indeed.
Of course he couldn’t leave now. Greed beckoned him. Disregarding his need for haste, he inched his way to the chest, pulled back the curtain and lifted its unsecured lid.
Disappointment dropped through him. Without a lock, it might not have been valuable after all. But as soon as his eyes met the contents, his breath caught. The books he had been so grateful to find thudded to the floor.
Two items were suspended in black velvet. The first he noticed was a small blue bottle strangely attached to a silver chain. That didn’t seem worth much. But the other item, also on a silver chain, was a sapphire blue like the deepest ocean. As if in a kind of protection, it was wrapped in swirling cords of silver. Though the lamps in the cabin had gone dim, it sparkled nonetheless. Deep within, a dazzling fire blazed.