LAND OF SAND & STARS
A rebellion is rising. Her religion has been outlawed. As the Persians revolt against their Median overlords, seventeen-year-old Āmitis’s dreams prophesize the war destroying her beloved desert province. With the power to take or give life with the touch of her hand, Āmitis has the ability and desire to save her people, even if it means usurping rule from her tyrannical father and putting herself on the throne as the governing ruler.
As the High King prepares for war against his grandson, Āmitis and her people are caught in the middle. To stop the war from starting within her city, Āmitis pledges allegiance to both Kings in a dangerous plan of deception. Diving into war when summoned into the empire beyond and proving her loyalty while keeping her true intentions secret could costs the lives of those around her. But her growing feelings for Cyrus complicate her plan. If she doesn’t succeed, looming ahead may be not only her and Cyrus’s death, but the destruction of two empires ravaged by war.
Based on the historical events leading to the establishment of the Persian Empire over the course of three years, Cyrus the Great's first wife, and the ancient Zoroastrian religion which is still practiced today, LAND OF SAND & STARS is a YA historical fantasy—complete at 105,000 words. It will appeal to the fans of Eleanor Herman’s Legacy of Kings, Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns, Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn. It is a standalone novel with series potential..
Ten Years Earlier: Late Spring 562 B.C.
Pain shoots across my bruised thigh and I bite back a yelp. I scowl at the curved, wooden blade in my instructor’s hand as the desert sun beats down behind him. Malach’s long shadow stretches out and swallows me whole. It’s like a scorpion fighting a camel.
It’s not fair.
I stomp my foot. “Why do I have to fight you?” Sweat drips from my dark hair and trickles down my face. My lower lip and chin quiver as I fight back tears. “They get to fight each other.” I point to the other side of the dirt, training courtyard. Girls and boys, also seven-years-old, spar in a cloud of kicked-up dust. The rapid strike of weapons thud and bounce off the walls built of mud and sun-dried brick.
He glances over and I brush away the sting of tears. The ache in my leg is little compared to my embarrassment. I’ve lost count of how many times the practice akinaka has struck me. I haven’t hit him once today. Maybe while he’s distracted…he did say to take every opportunity to strike, no matter how small. My grip tightens on the hilt.
His dark eyes return to me.
I gulp, wondering if he knows what I’m thinking.
Malach runs his fingers through his mud-brown hair kept back by a twisted headband. “Tell me, Āmitis, where are your older siblings?”
The words bite harder than the whack of the mock blade. I hate it when he does this…as if I could forget. I sniff and mumble, “Dead.”
BECOMING HOOK (complete)
Born the bastard daughter of a Duke and his mistress, Jas’s mother passed her off as a boy so he’d pay for the best education. But after sixteen years, Jas is tired of the façade. But starting over in America where she can live as a female and free of her father’s name requires fast money. A lot of it. In her last stint as a boy, Jas joins her Uncle Blackbeard’s pirate crew.
She knew they were sailing for uncharted waters, but when conniving Tinker Bell strands their ship in Never Never Land, it brings changes and desires she wasn’t prepared for. It’s when a flying boy stabs Blackbeard with a poisoned knife her priorities change. Instead of treasure and a new life, it’s a cure and fairy dust to return home.
Determined to save her Uncle, Jas sets out for the island. When she and her men are captured by Peter and the Lost Boys, all seems lost until a native girl, Tiger Lily, frees Jas and offers to help. In exchange, she and the pirates must leave and never return. The girls’ dangerous journey unexpectedly leads to friendship. But there’s something Jas cannot deny—she’s falling in love with Tiger Lily and no longer wants to leave.
As talk of war between the Indians and pirates brews, Jas and Tiger Lily race to find the antidote amid interference of a psychotic Peter. Jealousy drives Jas and Peter towards their final battle and love that will tear Never Never Land apart. To survive and save the people she loves, Jas must become the pirate she was meant to be.
February 1718 – 48.95° N 6.7° E
The long bandage squeezes my breasts but I pull it tighter—until the binding digs in and pinches my skin. I’ve become used to the daily ritual, but I’ll never like it. After tucking the end of the long strip of linen in, I run my hands over my chest to make sure it’s smooth and flat. I sigh and frown at the two small slopes above a narrow waist and curved hips. My pale skin glows in contrast to the dim light of the cabin. I wish I could be tan like the rest of the crew: sun kissed and free. The ship creaks, mocking my frustration.
I sigh and resign myself to accept what will never change.
“Where did that ribbon run off to?” I pull back my tangled mess of hair as I glance around the room. Various shades of dull earth-tones stare back. Although boring and plain in here, life aboard the ship is anything but.
With the vibrant, red ribbon nowhere to be seen, I yank back the blankest on the bed.
Nothing. I stomp my foot, let out a low groan and drop to my knees to search the floorboards. The chill of the wooden plans soaks into my hands to remind me of the cold outside. My room on the quarter deck is no bigger than a matchbox, yet I’ve misplaced my last ribbon once again. Shoving up and sitting on my heels, my face scrunches. It could be anywhere.
What in the world was I doing? I know I had it last night…Ah ha! I spring up and bound to the door adjoining the Captain’s quarters and yank it open. Bright light pours through the bay windows spanning the width of the ship. The rays stretch across the room and highlight the table covered in nautical and star charts. The frayed, crimson ribbon lays on top and signals like a lighthouse to approaching ships at sea.