Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #12

GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy


— Southeast Missouri, 1842 —

Poteet swept drooping branches aside as she marched toward the sound of a squalling newborn. Across a small clearing in the dense forest, the infant lay naked and twitching on a slab of granite, her wet blanket slapping in the wind and rain.

Poteet’s jaw tightened. Rex Stafford had lost his mind, abandoning his only child like that. It could only mean one thing.

Isabelle did not survive the birth.

Beyond the rock where the baby lay, a trio of wolves emerged from the trees, their eyes fixed on the infant. They crept forward, rumbling with low, hungry growls.

Sprinting toward the child, Poteet pulled an arrow from the quiver on her back and snapped it into place. One smooth motion, never breaking stride. “HEAAAHH!”

Two of the wolves glanced her way, then darted for cover in the nearby trees. But their leader continued bounding forward.

“Romus! Stop!”

Ignoring her, he sprang toward the child, his fangs bared.

Her arrow struck him in mid-air. It was perfectly aimed, piercing him clean in the heart. At least she could give him that.

He fell with a thud, his pointed teeth landing on the baby's exposed belly. The blow knocked the wind out of her, silencing her cries.

A cloudy vapor whooshed from the wolf’s slack jaws at precisely the moment the newborn recovered from her shock with an enormous gasp. In so doing, she inhaled the wolf’s final breath.


  1. Great first page! One part tripped me up, she knows the wolf's name and still shoots him? Also if pointed teeth landed on the baby's exposed belly, wouldn't they cut into the baby? Maybe change it to mouth. I would read more because this reminds me of a Native American legend. Good luck!

  2. I especially love the last line - it makes me wonder what inhaling that breath will cause. I agree with Kathleen's comments about shooting when she knew the wolf's name and the teeth and the baby's belly.

    Beyond that, I only had tiny, nitpicky thoughts. For "Isabelle did not survive..." should it be "had not survived"? Since it happened previously? Also "her wet blanket" - for a second, I wasn't sure if it was the baby's or Poteet's, since I don't know the gender of either. Does Poteet know the baby's gender already? If not, then maybe "its" instead? Good luck!

  3. I agree with Kathleen about the teeth. If the teeth are important, you can even say the snout/mouth landed on the baby's belly, "sharp teeth glinting in the light" or something.

    The last paragraph makes me want to know what happens. My guess is it ties to Poteet knowing the wolf's name.

    Also, the name Romus made me think Romulus.

  4. I'm very interested in the last sentence. It implies that there will be a sort of connection between this infant and the wolves. It really makes me want to keep reading. I also feel that the baby will be the main character. If this is the case, then great job! If not, then you may need to restructure a bit.

    I'm having a little trouble believing that Poteet could tell the baby was a girl from all the way across a small clearing, particularly since she's distracted by the wolves, the wind and the rain.

    Nice work!

  5. I’m not sure that you need this prologue. It’s interesting that the baby inhales the wolf’s final breath, which makes me think the baby is perhaps going to take on some aspects of the wolf. But this could still be incorporated later and woven in somehow. If you do keep the prologue, it’s unclear if the baby is injured from the wolf’s teeth.