The Writer’s Voice Contest – #152

Entry # 152

Title: The Fallen Princess
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Word count: 85,000

Query:
Sent away at age sixteen to serve as an artist in a foreign ruler’s court, Princess Delfina is eager to leave her uncle’s palace. Not only will she get to use her training as a painter of illuminated manuscripts, but she will delay the looming threat of an arranged marriage. The price to be paid for such an opportunity? She must gather information for her uncle, the ruling Khan of Karavai. No easy task, since she is expected to charm Prince Darclor—one of the Khan’s worst enemies—into sharing his secrets.

When Delfina meets the handsome young prince, she is surprised at the powerful attraction she feels for him. But as long as he poses a threat to her homeland, she cannot risk falling in love with him.

Upon learning she must return home, to marry an aging, half-crazed monarch, Delfina runs away in desperation. Only too late does she learn that her uncle offered her up to Darclor instead, to secure an alliance between their kingdoms. And when Darclor captures her, seeking revenge for the humiliation she caused him, Delfina must find a way to win back his heart, or risk losing her freedom forever.

First 250:

The door to the palace workshop burst open, disrupting the silence of the afternoon. I looked up to see one of the younger apprentices standing there.

“The Khan is coming! He’s coming for his inspection!” The boy leaned forward, hands on his knees, breathing heavily.

My stomach twisted in knots. My uncle was coming. Now. And I was in no state to greet him. “I thought he wasn’t due to visit until next week.”

“No, he’s on his way. He’ll be here soon. Within minutes!”

Master Giordani strode to the center of the room and clapped his hands together. “On your feet! Put everything away except the pages for the Khan’s book. Fetch them from the shelves and place them on the center table. Hurry!”

Without hesitation, all of us—the apprentices, calligraphers, and senior artisans—were up and moving. To the untrained eye, the studio appeared a chaotic mess, the wooden tables crowded with paper, reed pens, brushes, and oyster shells filled with oil paints. Every bit of it was essential for our work, but the Khan would regard it as clutter.

Giordani reviewed the pages, nodded in approval, and then ordered everyone to stand in line. When he saw me lingering by the shelves, he came over to me.

“Delfina, you need to join the others,” he said.

“I don’t think I should. If I leave now, you won’t be blamed for my appearance.” I wound my finger around a stray curl—one of many that had escaped from under my headscarf.

 

 

 

 

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24 Responses to The Writer’s Voice Contest – #152

  1. Marieke says:

    Seen this around the internet, I think? MSFV maybe? LOVE the sound of it though, especially the illumination training. So wonderful. Good luck!

    • casacullen says:

      Thanks, Marieke! I’m not sure what MSFV was, but I was in an earlier Cupid contest (Blind Speed Dating) in February.
      Carla

  2. Tina says:

    I can tell you’ve researched the art. Very realistic.

    Good luck!

    Tina (#194)

    • casacullen says:

      Thanks, Tina. I studied Islamic Art History at UCLA. And I actually met with a modern-day miniature painter when I was living in India.
      Carla

  3. April Wall says:

    Good luck in the contest! -April, #61

  4. Marissa says:

    This sounds really great! Love the setting and the character names! Very cool!

  5. Carrie-Anne says:

    Good luck on the contest! This is one of the fantasy pitches I like the most, since it’s so original. I also love the name Delfina.

  6. Dahlia says:

    A painter of illuminated manuscripts? A twisted love story? Sold 😉

  7. C.G.Ayling says:

    I like the way you show the political machine, present always in the “you do this for me and I’ll do this for you” with nothing more than a simple allusion to how she will be forced to spy to delay her unwanted marriage.
    Nice stuff, good luck!

  8. Hi Carla, I’m visiting your blog from the Writer’s Voice Contest (entry #58), and I wanted to wish you the best of luck! Nice to meet you.

  9. TL Sumner says:

    Hi Carla,
    I saw your email on the FF&P loop and I too am in the contest. 🙂 I wanted to stop by and wish you luck. Your story sounds so interesting. Especially where she has to woo back the Prince. Again – good luck!!
    ~tosha (TL Sumner #132)

  10. Summer says:

    I liked it! I was sincerely intrigued by when the 250 ran out and I wanted more to read, lol.

    Good luck in the contest!

    Summer – #40

  11. TV says:

    I think The Writer’s Voice Contest – #152 | Carla Luna Cullen – YA Fantasy & Romance is a good post and you do a well written job of posting unique information. Tom – http://www.ep2p4u.com

  12. Brenda McKenna says:

    Illuminated manuscripts? Historical fiction with intrigue and romance? I want to read your book! 🙂

  13. Jess L. says:

    I LOVE this one. Something about the use of language in the first 250 really puts me into the scene~ the world-building is subtle, but so rich. Wishing you the best of luck with this!

  14. Ooh – I really like this! This is a stand out fantasy entry! I want to read more! Good luck as the contest continues! WVC #28

  15. Becca C. says:

    A wonderful setup, and it hints at a beautifully drawn story beyond. Nice job.

  16. Oh, I like this! Good luck!

    ~Nicole, entry 68

  17. This sounds sooo good! I’d love to read this!

    Good luck!

    Brandi #199

  18. Well done, Carla! 🙂 Best of luck!

  19. Carla, I want you! I’m getting here a little late, but I just wanted you to know how excited I am to have you and THE FALLEN PRINCESS on my team. I love the world you’ve created–it has a cool GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS vibe–and I especially love Delfina. I’ve never heard of an illuminated-manuscript-making princess before, but now I can’t wait to meet her. Also, I love the sense of urgency and impending doom in your the first page.

    I think we can tweak the query a little, just to give the characterization a little stronger punch. If you add a line or two that will help us sympathize more with Darclor, I think that will go a long way. But it’s nothing major. On the whole, I think this entry is already quite strong as it is.

    Welcome to the team! We’re looking forward to having you!

  20. Hi Carla! Welcome to team Krista! Who doesn’t love a princess? I’d love to hear more about your musician WIP, too.

  21. Sarah says:

    Congrats Carla!!! Great story (I remember it from the Blind Speed Dating). Welcome to Team Krista!

    -Sarah #146

  22. Ryan says:

    I don’t usually read Romance (too girly heh heh)
    But this actually sounds really interesting!
    Welcome to Team Krista!
    -#122

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