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PW #226: YA Vietnamese-Inspired Fantasy: DIAMOND QUEEN

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Brianna Shrum
Mentee Name: Michelle Tran
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Vietnamese-Inspired Fantasy
Word Count: 75,000


Avere is blessed with the ability to turn rocks into diamonds, and cursed with a royal title that got her mother murdered. Before the emperor’s assassins kill her, she must flee, but finds herself drawn to stay—both by her mischievous hired escort and her desperate desire to assassinate the emperor.


It was the last day of pretending. Or so I thought.

I sat under my makeshift tent at the open village market. With steady hands I concentrated on my work, stringing the bright stones onto a thin silver wire. The amethyst glittered under the calm morning, sending flecks across my other pieces.

There was no need to make anything today. By nightfall my mother and I would be gone. Better to sell everything at half price and lessen our load than to increase our inventory, but I needed to keep my hands busy. Already they were beginning to ache from my nerves.

We were finally going to seek out my sisters. My four younger sisters, who didn’t even know who we were.

I let out an anxious breath and polished the bracelet, then grabbed another handful of stones to ease my mind. There was no point in worrying. I had waited for this day for nearly a decade.

Surely that was enough time for everyone to forget about my mother.

As the morning went on, between the fish seller’s booth and the herbalist’s stand, the salty sea smell mixed with the stinging, dank, herbs made me want to vomit. It took breathing through my mouth and the thought of reuniting with my sisters to keep my breakfast down.

The smell was certainly one thing I wouldn’t miss.

“A flower for your thoughts?”

But his voice was one thing I would.


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