MENTOR: Elizabeth Briggs
MENTEE: Audrey Coulthurst
TITLE: HEART OF SPARKS
CATEGORY/GENRE: YA Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 90,000
When Princess Denna falls in love with the defiant, horse-training sister of the prince she’s supposed to marry, she’ll have to sacrifice her crown and use her forbidden magical gift if she wants to stop a war and save the girl she loves.
My life since the age of six had been a rehearsal for this moment.
The door of my carriage clicked open, and a gust of hot summer air beckoned me to meet my future husband. I took as deep a breath as the bodice of my dress would allow and stepped down onto pale flagstones leading up to the gatehouse of a castle. My maid and entourage had split off back at the first entrance to unload my things, and now I faced my future alone. My heart beat in nervous double time against my ribs. The alliance between my kingdom and Mynaria rested on my ability to prove myself the perfect consort, and our two kingdoms needed one another for resources and protection. But close to my heart I held another hope beyond the alliance—I secretly wished to fall in love.
Colorful banners hung from the battlements, alternating the plum of my homeland with the deep blue of Mynaria. The castle loomed behind the gatehouse, a massive structure crowned with square towers that jutted up into the sky. It looked naked without the twisting spires that had crowned the castle where I grew up.
A line of horses in full barding awaited me at the entryway, their polished armor glinting in the afternoon sun. Embroidered silk fluttered from their reins. One horse tossed its head and swung its hindquarters over, sending a ripple of pinned ears and fidgeting hooves through the line.
“Quit,” someone muttered.