The Writer’s Voice

Exciting news today!  Recently my friend Ruth told me about a contest for writers with polished manuscripts hoping to find an agent.  Step One was to enter a lottery just to be in the contest–and I got in!

Step Two is to post a query and the first 250 words of the novel to the writer’s blog.  Regular readers may remember hearing before about Jasper the wandering adventurer and Tom the talking cat, yes?  Well, you’re going to hear a bit more about them now…  I hope you enjoy, and cross your fingers for me that the contest-organizers enjoy it too!

Query

Jasper planned to fight a magician, but he didn’t expect to pick up a talking cat as a traveling companion in the process—especially since he has a long list of rules, and one of them is Always travel alone (#18).  The Wanderers follows the exploits of Jasper and talking cat Tom, through a landscape full of monsters, questing princes, and new spins on familiar fairy tales

The Wanderers is a young adult fantasy novel.  It is a completed work, with a length of 107,000 words.  We follow Jasper and Tom as they successfully help an inept prince complete a quest (and follow Rule #7, On quests, always help anyone who asks), and rescue a girl kidnapped by a witch.  Plans take another twist (and Rule #18 is tested again) when the girl runs away and joins Jasper and Tom’s travels.  Julie is just hoping to escape from the witch—who is, in fact, her mother.  She quickly discovers a taste for adventure as well.  The three band together to tangle with outlaws, a sea serpent, a very hungry (yet refined) ogre, and to solve a mystery involving twelve princesses and a lot of worn-out dancing slippers.  Situations are rarely as they appear, and Jasper would probably do much better if he just listened more often to the cat!

I graduated summa cum laude from the University of San Francisco, where I was an English major with a writing emphasis, and had multiple submissions accepted to the school’s literary magazine.  I currently work in marketing and social media with UniversalGiving, a San Francisco-based nonprofit.  I also run my own writing and book review blog, Tales of the Marvelous.  I am hoping to make The Wanderers my first published novel.  It is a stand-alone piece, but I believe there is high potential for a series.  The first 250 words are included below.

The Wanderers

No one mentioned mucking out stables when they told stories of wandering adventurers.  Jasper didn’t bring up that part himself, when he spun out tales of his exploits.  But it’s hard to ignore the reality when you’re in the middle of it, especially when that reality stinks.  Even now, when he was well-out of the stable, he could still detect a whiff of that particular slice of reality.  It was making an otherwise terrible meal even worse.

The food was excellent.  They had started with a fish course, gone on to baked ham, and were fast approaching cherries jubilee for dessert.  The bench was comfortable, the table didn’t slant, and the banquet hall was clean, if a little too full of stone pillars for Jasper’s taste, and far too large for a scant company of twenty.

The trouble was that company of twenty.  Almost everyone present was a servant, and every one of them served with terrified zeal, as though their lives depended on performing their duties to perfection—which they did.  By far the biggest trouble among many troubling people was the only one who wasn’t a servant, the magician sitting at the head of the table.  The meal had begun when Magician Hawkins swept into the banquet hall, violet velvet cloak billowing around him in what was clearly calculated grandeur, and he had dominated the room ever since.

Hawkins passed the meal making caustic comments.  Everyone laughed when he did, the sound echoing off the stone walls.

And…that’s 249 words!

About cherylmahoney

I'm a book review blogger and Fantasy writer. I have published three novels, The Wanderers; The Storyteller and Her Sisters; and The People the Fairies Forget. All can be found on Amazon as an ebook and paperback. In my day job, I'm the Marketing Specialist for Yolo Hospice. Find me on Twitter (@MarvelousTales) and GoodReads (MarvelousTales).
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20 Responses to The Writer’s Voice

  1. Diana Sousa says:

    You had me at talking cat! Everything from then on just makes me want to read it more!
    Good luck!

  2. What a great start! I like Jasper already! Best of luck with the contest.

  3. Kes Trester says:

    Don’t forget Rule #12: Don’t doubt your talent because you’ve got it! What a fun premise and read. Best of luck!

  4. Hannah Scott says:

    This sounds like a fun and engaging story. Best of luck to you. 🙂

  5. Melissa says:

    This just sounds like SO much fun. Epic quests and classic tales twisted and changed into something new? AND I love cats. (The talking cat from Sabrina the teenage witch was one of my favorite things when I was younger so I am stoked on having that in a story!) Great job!

  6. Jennie says:

    I adore new spins on familiar fairytales! And I love that he has a talking cat for a traveling companion! This has fun adventures written all over it. Best of luck!!

  7. megwrites says:

    I get such a strong sense of your voice, both in the query and the excerpt. Well done!

  8. Lynn says:

    Good luck! It sounds like a fun story!

  9. Marieke says:

    Ooh, love the humor here! What a lovely concept 🙂 Good luck!

  10. dianem57 says:

    GOOD LUCK! If they have any sense, they’ll want to publish your story.

  11. Nicole Bross says:

    Good luck! It sounds like a blast. 🙂

  12. K D Blakely says:

    Good luck Cheryl!! You know how much I love Jasper and Tom. Can’t wait to see them in print!

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