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Sunday, 28 October 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre: Fantasy Steampunk
Category: Young Adult

Word Count: 82,000
Three Sentence Pitch: 
Seventeen-year-old Enne Alfero roams the magical Victorian-like shadow world searching for her lost mother. Her only ally is Levi Glaisyer, a hot street lord and card dealer at a casino. When the casino’s owner tricks Enne with an unbreakable vow to work as an assassin, Enne and Levi must play the city’s politicians in a deadly game for their lives.
Question 1: In your MC’s voice, what costume character do you relate most to and why?
I would probably be a ballerina because I already have the costume for it. 
Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka marketable/unique)?
ACE OF SHADES is unique because it combines elements of steampunk with fantasy by setting the story in the ‘shadow world,’ an alternate version of Victorian London. It has street gangs, romance, acrobats, assassins, and deadly card games all rolled up into one story. It will appeal to fans of Boardwalk Empire, Spirited Away, and historical fiction.
First 200 Words:
Lourdes always told me that if she went missing for two weeks, she was dead. It’s been four.
I try not to dwell on that as I pull on my black tights, leotard, and long-sleeve t-shirt for ballet class. She’ll be back. She always comes back.
Only I don’t know how to keep waiting. I don’t know how to keep going to school, and dance, and gymnastics, and pretending that nothing is wrong. That I haven’t eaten Easy Mac four times this week. That I don’t jump to the window every time headlights sweep past my room and then disappear down the street.
But Lourdes told me to wait. That’s her protocol: say nothing and wait for someone to make contact.
But I can’t, I can’t keep waiting for “someone.” And each day I feel a little bit smaller, a little bit quieter, and a lot more alone.
This isn’t the first time she’s gone missing. But only for a few days, a week maybe. Never this long. I always assumed she’s a secret agent or something, but I doubt the James Bond types are normal, the kind of people who can’t function in the morning without coffee and wear the same nylons three days in a row, like she did.
Like she does, I mean.  

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