5. Son of a Pitch: THE BLOOD BARRIER

5. Son of a Pitch: THE BLOOD BARRIER

Title: THE BLOOD BARRIER

Age and Genre: YA FANTASY

Word Count: 80,000

Query:

In the future, children with inherent abilities—dubbed the Taken—are stolen or sold at birth for their powers.

Sixteen-year-old Haley’s one of the Taken. As a blood-blender, she enters a person’s bloodstream to heal or kill. Raised in a compound and secluded from the outside world, she’s become the Front’s top killer-in-training. In a last ditch effort to cling to her sanity, she manages to escape. Problem is, freedom from the compound can’t wipe out sixteen years of voices in her head telling her to kill. And now that she’s alone, she isn’t sure what voices are real and which are make-believe—not a good look for someone seeking asylum.

Luckily, with the help of an epileptic time-traveler, KC, and his emotion-shifting best friend, Charles, she may find a way to escape permanently.

Give or take a few problems. She’s falling for Charles, who happens to be KC’s crush. Not to mention the fact that KC might be her brother. With the Front hot on their trail, Haley must harness her powers to keep her new friends safe. Otherwise, she might accidentally kill them. Piece of cake. Unless, of course, everyone she’s come to love happens to be the biggest delusion of all.

First 250 Words:

 

Heat, intense but not unpleasant, hits my face as flames flicker along the wooden floor of my bedroom. Steadily, each beautiful, shiny-smooth plank evolves into a charred and ashy mess. The more I concentrate on the flames, the more Mama’s voice slips from my mind. I revel in peaceful emptiness.

Afraid of the dark, Mama? Are you kidding? Night is when we unzip the eyes of day and let our true skin free. Afraid? No, I live for the dark. When this room’s roasted, you’ll see I can destroy.

“Just you wait.”

Right there, intertwined in orange and blue, the shape of a boy shines brightly. It’s as if he’s motioning for me to proceed with caution, but that’s impossible. Hypnotized, I try to make out his features. It’s no use; I don’t recognize him at all. As intriguing as the image is, I break my gaze.

If I don’t act fast, this will end up like all my other failed attempts.

Not exactly what I had in mind when I planned my latest escape earlier today, but for some reason, it fills me with a sense of calm instead of panic. A solid resolve sits in the pit of my stomach, right where fear normally reigns.

Mama’s voice tries to creep into my head again. Little tendrils of hate-filled admonitions wrap around my brain. They pound my synapses until my mind’s full of her once more.

15 thoughts on “5. Son of a Pitch: THE BLOOD BARRIER

  1. Oh, Haaay awesome people reading this. *wave* I’m off on a school field-trip for the day so I’m getting my coaxing in early. Vote for Haley. All her life she’s been used because of what she can do. It’d be so cool for her to be liked for once for who she is instead 😉

  2. Query is tight and exciting – had just a few suggestions/questions that I tucked within. (Not sure you shouldn’t slip that first sentence in the body -)

    In the future, children with inherent abilities—dubbed the Taken—are stolen or sold at birth for their powers.

    Sixteen-year-old Haley is one of the Taken. As a blood-blender, she can enter a person’s bloodstream to heal or kill. (intro sentence snippet here) Raised in a compound and secluded from the outside world, she’s become the Front’s top killer-in-training. (Being a killer eats away at your soul? What drove her to want to escape?) To cling to her sanity, she escapes. But freedom from the compound can’t wipe out sixteen years of voices in her head telling her to kill. And now that she’s alone, she isn’t sure which voices are real and which are make-believe—not a good look for someone seeking asylum.
    Luckily, with the help of an epileptic time-traveler KC and his emotion-shifting best friend Charles, Haley may find a way to escape permanently. (Wait didn’t she escape? is this escape from the torment? Might need to clarify)
    (She’s falling for Charles, who happens to be KC’s crush. Not to mention the fact that KC might be her brother. – this needs a different intro and steamlining….) With the Front hot on their trail, Haley must harness her powers to keep her new friends safe. Otherwise, she might accidentally kill them. (– love that) Piece of cake. Unless, of course, everyone she’s come to love happens to be the biggest delusion of all.

    loved your first 250
    strong and compelling start

    few tiny words to cut:
    Not exactly what I had in mind when I planned my latest escape earlier today, but for some reason, it fills me with calm instead of panic. (do you need a sense of?)
    or
    Mama’s voice creeps into my head again. (del – tries to)

    have fun on your trip and best of luck!

  3. Love this! I have one small suggestion for you.

    Try something like: As a blood-blender, sixteen-year-old Haley, one of the Taken, enters a person’s bloodstream to heal or kill. This tightens that first line and adds a little oomph.

    Good luck! 🙂

  4. This is AWESOME.

    Okay, “stolen or sold”: I have a lot of questions about how this works, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing…maybe that makes me want to read the book more. Like, are parents ever able to keep kids’ abilities secret? And, if not, how do they manage to sell the kids without them just being stolen anyway? It is sort of a big question for me to have at this point, and you might consider modifying this to make it less consternating, and/or more clear.

    Okay…”Manages to escape” and “seeking asylum”…put these two ideas closer together, or add a link in the intervening sentences so it flows smoothly from one idea to the next. “Manages to escape, becoming a hunted fugitive in need of shelter.”

    I need some hint of how she hooks up with her friends. Did they escape with her? Are they also rogue? Are they part of some group of escaped Taken?

    “Escape permanently.” Wha? This means suicide to me. Be more clear. “Find a way to disappear permanently from the Front [and whoever else?}’s radar.” Something along those lines, perhaps?

    “everyone she’s come to love happens to be the biggest delusion of all.” Cool, cool concept, but I stumble over the sentence. Re-word. “those she’s come to love turn out to be the biggest delusion of all.” or something.

    250: This is cool. You have me hooked. It’s possible you’ll scare others off starting here, or they’ll feel ungrounded, but perhaps not…I can only tell you that I’ve had serious problems starting a book in the middle of an MC’s episode of psychosis. But this scene is decidedly different than mine was…

    Last paragraph, “tendrils of hate-filled admonitions” Love this.Follow it up by showing us, let us hear the voice and what it’s saying.

    Word. Good job. Thank you for your entry and your lovely diverse characters.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! To answer your question, before the children are born, pregnant citizens are given the option to sell their newborns if they test positive for blending. At the time of birth, however, some refuse and therefore the Front steals them away if they are blenders anyway and leave the families with no payment.

      There are rogue groups out there who have managed to get false negatives on their newborns. They are then sent away to be raised far from the Front. KC and Charles are a few that got away and take Haley in to help her as much as they can.

      I hope that makes more sense 🙂

  5. I played around with everyone’s suggestions and came up with this. Also, I wanted to mention, my MC and her brother are Oglala Sioux. Haley is neurodiverse, she suffers from PTSD, something I am all too familiar with as I also have it. Her brother, KC is coming to terms with the fact that he’s in love with his best friend, Charles. and all the emotions that come with falling for a friend. Anyways just wanted to mention as I saw others talking about the wonderful diversity in their MS. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!
    Sixteen-year-old Haley’s one of the Taken—a group of children with inherent abilities who are stolen at birth for their powers. As a blood-blender, she can enter a person’s bloodstream to kill. Raised in a compound, she’s become the Front’s top killer-in-training. In a last ditch effort to cling to her sanity, and possibly find friendship or love, she manages to escape. Problem is, freedom from the compound can’t wipe out sixteen years of training to be a murderer. And now that she’s alone, she can’t fight those ingrained urges—not a good look for someone seeking asylum.

    Luckily, when she meets an epileptic time-traveler, KC, and his emotion-shifting best friend, Charles, she may find a way to evade the Front’s grasp permanently.

    Give or take a few problems. She’s falling for Charles, who happens to be KC’s crush. Not to mention the fact that KC might be her brother. With the Front hot on their trail, Haley must harness her powers to keep her new friends safe. Otherwise, she might accidentally destroy them. Piece of cake. Unless, of course, everyone she loves ends up being the biggest delusion of all.

  6. Awesome! Love this! Good luck and congratulations on your participation in Son of a Pitch – your hard work speaks volumes regarding your courage and willingness to follow your dreams and achieve your goals!

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