Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Secret Agent #6

TITLE: Blood Rose Rebellion
GENRE: YA historical fantasy

London, April 1847

I did not set out to ruin my sister’s debut.

Indeed, there were any number of things I deliberately did not do that day.

I did not pray for rain, as I knelt in the small chapel of our London townhome that morning, the cold of the floor seeping into my bones. Instead, I listened to Mama’s petition for successful spells and sunshine. Peeking through my lashes at Elizabeth’s placid face, I yearned to ask for disquiet, disorder, and torrential downpours—calamitous words that might have eased, a little, the restless crawling in my heart. But I swallowed the words unsaid. Even should God heed such a treacherous prayer, my father would not. And though Papa’s weather magic would cost him a headache, Elizabeth would dance under clear skies.

I did not argue with Elizabeth, when she banned me from the ballroom where she and Mama were laying the final grounding for her illusions. “You’ll break my concentration,” she said, “and spoil my spells.”

But then I did not go to the nursery, where I was expected to improve my sketching while James studied his Latin. Instead, I lingered (Mama would say loitered) in the lower hall, watching the servants scurry back and forth with their brooms and buckets and cleaning cloths, in feverish preparation for the ball.

I did not rest, as Elizabeth did.

And because of those omissions, I was in the hallway when Lord Frederick Markson Worthing came calling.


  1. Loved your opening line! It sucked me in!

    Second line--would it read better to italicize 'not' instead of underline?

    I was intrigued by the use of magic and loved your MC's voice. I would have liked to have known her age. The reference to 'nursery', while it didn't make me think child, did make me think younger teen/tween. If she's older I would give us an indication here.

    Loved the set up for Lord Markson's arrival...Wish I could read more to see what happens!

  2. The "I did nots" we're getting a bit repetitive, but I love the voice in this. Also, great relationship building on this first page, too. I feel like I have a great grasp of her personality and of her relationship with her different family members. I also love the subtle way you weaved the magical things into the prose. I like her. ^_^

  3. I love this entry. The voice rings authentic, and I get a sense of character right away.

    The one thing I would have like to have seen was for you to draw the reader into the historical setting with subtle clues rather than laying out the date and setting.

  4. Good comments, all. I too would read more, primarily because I like the impishness of the MC. I would think her to be 12 or so and a bit petulant that she's not included in the preparations for Elizabeth's big day. Good luck.

  5. I love the first line. The next few follow up nicely. I think the line about peeking through lashes at Elizabeth should be a new paragraph, and it would be nice to know who Elizabeth is. A simple "my sister Elizabeth" would clarify. Same with James--we need a little context when all these characters are introduced.

    Beyond breaking up that chunk of text and the character intros, I think the language and setting are strong. This heroine sounds sneaky and strong-willed, and I would follow her to the next page :)

    (note on the underline; it's probably a formatting issue. Scrivener software has an option to change italics to underline, etc.)

  6. There are so many parts to this that I liked! The first line, the characterization, the language...great job! And the last line made me wish I could read more. Good luck

  7. This is great. You've given me a wonderful view of the family dynamics - I believe she may be a bit like her father - and I love that there are magical elements gently woven in.

    I don't necessarily need to know her age right away given the period and your indication it is YA.

    Would love to read on and watch this relationship between your MC and the caller develop.

    Good luck.

  8. I really like this. A lot. I know that isn't helpful critique, but this is good.

  9. This is very well done. It has a nice tone and sets up the mc's place in the family. It also gives us some insight to the other characters and their world, and sets up the type of magic that exists in it. It hints at a problem. I also liked the title. I'd read more.

    A few nits--

    In parg 4 - Here she and Mama 'lay' the final grounding . . .

    Cut 'but then' starting parg five, and 'where I was expected' in the same sentence.

    Sat 'and watched' in the next sentence, instead of 'watching' to keep it active.

    Replace 'was' in the last sentence with a better verb. Perhaps stood, waited or use 'loitered' this time to imply it's deliberate.

    Nicely done!

  10. I really enjoyed this! I love the sense of place and time, as well as your wonderful voice! The first line is a zinger, and hooked me right away. The repetition of what this character did not do was clever and funny. What’s most exciting is the sense I have of this character – in just these few words I have a strong picture of her in my mind, and I love her already! And, it ends in a perfect spot – who is this Lord Worthing, and what is going to happen next? I’m dying to know!