Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor: Kevin Springer
Mentee: Jamie Pacton
Title: MARCO POLO & THE MAGICIAN’S RING
Word count: 40,000
Marco Polo’s travels made history, but his childhood was also full of adventure and danger. When a vengeful goddess kidnaps his aunt and cousin, 12-year-old Marco must find the Magician’s Ring, outwit a lovesick mermaid, and figure out how to use the magical power his mother left him before the goddess destroys his family, his best friend, and all of Venice.
So, I’m a liar.
Most people are— not that they’d tell you the truth.
But most people don’t know the rules of lying well.
My mother was determined I wouldn’t end up like most people.
I hear her voice in my head as my boss, Master Baker Rollo, steps into the bakery, already yelling about the day’s schedule. His mouth falls open when he sees the piles of puffy rolls, a basket of long golden loafs, and the cake shaped like a Venetian barge on the table in front of me.
“Keep it simple, Marco. Make eye contact, add some truth, and above all else, stay calm.”
Luckily, my mother taught me well.
“Marco?” Master Baker Rollo manages after a long moment. He smiles, making his eyes nearly disappear into his chubby cheeks. “How did you bake all this?”
I yawn before I answer, trying to look calm, and run a hand through my nest of dark curls. Flour cascades from my hair, sticking in the sweat on my forehead. The bakery’s hot and smells like cinnamon. All the dishes are scrubbed clean. Outside, the morning sun glints off the canals, church bells ring nine o’clock, and loud crowds stream past our windows, headed to St. Mark’s square.
Still groggy from my nap, I meet my boss’s eyes and smile. The lie practically falls off my lips.