MENTOR: Michelle Painchaud
GENRE: YA/Historical Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 85,000
35 WORD PITCH: Gifted with Sight, a power that allows her to see memories, Uzbekistanian teen Serebat flees her tiny farm and shamed reputation for the city of Ladan-a-Shir to find the orange-eyed man who haunts her Sight – a man whom other Seers say is her destiny, and the man who is the Conqueror who slaughtered her people and took their city.
Ironically, it was my sister Patinka who taught me how to sneak out of the house. Years ago, when she still crept into
my bedroll to brag about her surfeit of suitors.
Our front door sits politely in the shadow of our clay house, hiding even from the moon. Quiet and friendly to sneaks and intruders alike–until it opens more than a foot. Then it screeches like a baby crow.
Slowly, I ease the reed door as far open as I dare. I throw my rucksack out and gather my faded purple tunic tight about my pants. I'm next.
The door’s screech comes from the uneven ends of each reed scraping the threshold. Pati once tried to shave the ends down when she thought no one was near to hear. My father heard all right. There is nothing more embarrassing than being a grown girl of fifteen with spoon marks on your calves.
Except, of course, being a grown girl of seventeen caught with your sister's husband.
I grip the doorjamb as guilt pierces me one more time. The memory of Pati’s face cracked with pain has tempted me to tell the truth so many times since she found me with Aratem. But that would bring an end much worse than being forced into a stranger-marriage. In Qara, there is something more terrible than letting your sister think you betrayed her: having the Sight. To reveal I can See memories would send me straight to the salt fields for a slow death.