How often do you hear about something that sounds too good to be true? Well, I am here to offer 10 lucky winners the opportunity of a lifetime.
New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books and Berkley Books, Lou Aronica has created a unique and exciting offer to anyone that is going to follow his upcoming book tour with Pump Up Your Book. His extensive experience in the publishing and editing fields has given him insight into an industry that continues to grow and change daily. Once again, that insight has led him to offer a contest that is truly special in so many ways. Lou will be accepting story pitches from followers of his blog tour. These story pitches must be for short stories pertaining to the fantasy world of his novel, “Blue.” This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties. How can you pass up an opportunity like this?
Now for the details:
The pitch should include a synopsis of the proposed story and a sample of the submitting author’s fiction writing. Specify the expected length of the story.
The pitch needs to be submitted by April 16, 2011
Please email your submission to Lou at firstname.lastname@example.org
All winners will be notified by email by May 27, 2011.
Lou Aronica is the author of several novels and works of nonfiction, including the New York Times bestseller, The Element (written with Ken Robinson) and the national bestseller, The Culture Code (written with Clotaire Rapaille). He lives in Southern Connecticut with his wife and four children.
Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris’s fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who has overcome enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman – and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them. Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed.
Becky felt incredibly tired. The depths of sleep exerted a strong and, initially, unsettling pull on her. Given how she felt, she wouldn’t have thought she’d be sleeping anytime soon. Slowly, she surrendered to the pull. She really had no choice—it was that strong.
“This meeting will enrich.”
Becky heard the voice like it was inside and outside of her head at the same time. Now she was hearing voices, too? She was getting sick, her father was abandoning her, and she was going crazy—life just didn’t get any better than this. Meanwhile, what did “this meeting will enrich” mean, anyway?
“Limitless imaginations create.”
Gee, that made way more sense. If she was going to start hearing voices, it would be nice if the voices said something a little easier to understand.
Becky felt herself falling, even though she knew she was already lying down. This wasn’t like going to sleep at all. Was this yet another new symptom, something else to worry about? Was lying in bed going to become as unpredictable as bending over or moving too quickly?
Still, she didn’t feel dizzy. In fact, she didn’t feel out of control at all. It felt like she was headed somewhere. A tiny piece of her started to panic, but the rest of her found this fascinating. Maybe losing her mind wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Maybe she’d enjoy being a crazy person.
Becky noticed something formless in the darkness. As she got closer—how was she moving?—the image began to come together. It was the back of a woman’s head. A head with golden, lustrous strands of hair like her cousin Kiley’s. The head turned and Becky saw the woman’s face—and instantly she knew who it was.
Limitless imaginations create.
A part of her brain told her that it wasn’t possible for this woman to be who she thought she was, but then another part of her brain reminded her that none of this should be possible.
The face looked at her. It seemed a little confused, a little unsure. Becky continued to move closer, her body—or whatever it was that she had out here—traveling entirely on its own. If she ever summoned the guts to tell Lonnie about this, it would make a heck of a story. Finally, she was mere feet from the face—just a disembodied face. It dawned on Becky that this should feel pretty creepy. But it didn’t feel that way at all. What she felt was indescribable. Maybe that was appropriate, considering she’d never had an experience even remotely like this before. Had anyone?
“Princess Miea?” she said tentatively. Becky half expected her voice to sound as strange as this place was, but she sounded just like herself.
The face across from her seemed surprised. “You know who I am?”
“I guess I would know you anywhere. Even here.”
The woman made an obvious effort to figure out what this meant. Becky noticed now that the woman was older than she imagined her. She’d always been a teenager in Becky’s mind, but this Princess Miea seemed to be in her early twenties.
“Do I know you?” the face said.
“No, we’ve never met before.”
“Then how do you know me?”
You’ve been in my head as long as I can remember, Becky thought. That wasn’t a particularly helpful explanation, though. “I created a lot of stories about you, and about Tamarisk, and about the king and the queen, and about the bloat marshes, and the Rainbow Fair, and the dancepoodles—”
The woman’s eyes opened wide. “You know about my dancepoodle?”
“Yeah, I kinda made it up. At least I thought I made it up. Now I’m not so sure.”
The woman seemed sad suddenly. “I had a—companion, I suppose you would call it—when I was younger. It was a four-legged animal with pink, curly hair, and it performed the most entertaining dances. I loved that animal so much, but no one else remembers it—or the existence of dancepoodles at all. I’ve never seen one in the kingdom and there is no record of them anywhere. Except in my heart.”
Becky wondered why she mentioned dancepoodles in the first place. She’d invented them when she was little and then uninvented them when she got older and decided that Tamarisk should be more exotic and that no one in the kingdom should own pets.
“I changed the stories,” Becky said.
“The stories I told about Tamarisk. I wanted them to be more sophisticated, so I got rid of dancepoodles.” Becky tried to remember some other early creations. “And salmoladies—they were very smart fish—and caramelpetals, a really tasty flower.”
“Caramelpetals,” the woman said softly, almost nostalgically.
The woman closed her eyes for a long moment. She appeared to be meditating. When she opened them again, her expression had changed.
“You allowed us to happen,” she said carefully.
“You think? Maybe. I guess.” This was all so totally strange. Here she was, floating in space talking to the princess of the fantasy stories she used to create with her dad. Yet that wasn’t the strangest part. The strangest part was that it didn’t feel at all weird to be doing this.
“Are you a god?”
Becky laughed out loud. “I am definitely not a god. Just ask my father. I’m not sure he even thinks I’m a person anymore.”
“But you brought us into being.”
It was Becky’s turn not to say something for a few moments. Had she actually created Tamarisk? Had she actually created Tamarisk? “I don’t think that’s how it worked,” she said, not entirely sure why she said that. Becky noticed that the darkness around Princess Miea was starting to change. She thought she could make out parts of the rest of the woman’s body and a bit of a room around her. Becky glanced behind herself, expecting to see some of her bedroom, but there was nothing there.
“There’s a reason why this is happening,” Miea said. “There’s a reason why we’ve been brought together.”
“This meeting will enrich.”
“What did you say?”
“Something someone just said to me.”
Yeah, great question. “I don’t have a clue. Do you have any idea why this is happening now?”
The princess lowered her eyes, and when she looked up again, she had a slightly sheepish expression on her face. “No idea at all.” She chuckled to herself and then added, “I’ve had the most awful day imaginable.”
“Mine hasn’t been so great, either. And now I’m hallucinating.”
The princess’s expression became more serious. “You’re not, you know.”
Becky looked into the woman’s eyes for several seconds. It was like looking at someone she’d known her entire life.
“Yes, I know.”
She did. Instantly. Though none of it made the least bit of sense.
Miea had been talking to the girl in this once-darkness for several minutes now. The girl’s form seemed to be emerging, and Miea could see the outline of a bed around her. The girl didn’t seem like a god. In fact, she seemed like one of the friends Miea had had in high school or college back before everything changed. The girl was definitely the one who had brought Tamarisk into being, though. Every instinct told Miea this was true. How else could the girl know about dancepoodles and caramelpetals? It was possible this was all an elaborate deception—after all, Miea had mentioned both “lost” things to others over the years—but Miea was somehow sure that it wasn’t. This was what she was supposed to “wait” for.
“I’m not a princess anymore. I’m the queen now.”
“The queen? But what about your mother and father?”
“Dead,” Miea said, still surprised by how sad that admission could make her. “There was a terrible accident a few years ago.”
The girl lowered her head. “Dead. That’s horrible.” She looked up then and Miea could see that this genuinely affected her. “That must be incredibly tough for you.”
“The vexing thing is how I can’t even begin to get over it. After all this time, it still hurts every time I think about it.”
“Yeah, I know a little something about that.”
The girl shook her head. “They’re not dead. But sometimes it feels like the family we used to have is dead.”
Miea couldn’t understand what the girl was talking about, but it was obvious that thinking about it made the girl very upset. “I’m sorry.”
“Thanks.” The girl looked past her, focusing directly behind her. Miea wondered what she saw back there and she looked in that direction again, seeing nothing. “What is this place?”
“I’m not sure. I just wanted to have a conversation with my father—”
“—I thought your father was dead.”
“He is. I wanted to have a conversation with him in my head, to imagine the kind of advice he would give me—and I found myself here.”
Miea smiled. “With you. What were you searching for?”
The girl raised her eyebrows and shook her head. “I didn’t know I was searching. But now that I think about it, just before this happened, I asked for help.”
“I don’t know. Anyone.”
“Maybe there’s something out here for both of us. Not that you could tell from looking around.”
“I’m Becky, by the way. Do I refer to you as Your Majesty?”
Miea cringed. “It would be great if you were the one person I knew who didn’t. And it doesn’t seem appropriate under the circumstances.”
“What are the circumstances?”
“I guess that’s something for both of us to find out.”
Miea noticed a glint in Becky’s eyes then that she hadn’t seen before. This wasn’t at all what she’d expected when she closed her eyes to “gain perspective” in her chamber. Still, after one of the most perplexing days of her life, this kind of surprise was more than welcome.
“You can call me Miea.”
“Thanks. I always loved that name.”
“Thanks. I’ve always loved it as well.”
“Are we in Tamarisk?”
Miea thought about this for a moment. “I don’t think so. Maybe we’re in the place that you come from.”
“This is definitely not Connecticut. At least any part of Connecticut that I’ve ever seen.”
“Then we’re someplace else. A third place; a place where we could meet.”
“Do things like this happen to you regularly?”
“Never before. But I’m glad it’s happening now.”
Becky smiled and the glint in her eyes grew. “Yeah, me too. Do you really think there’s a reason why we’ve met?”
“I think there has to be. I suppose that’s something we’ll learn together.”
Miea felt her form move farther from the girl. As the distance grew between them, she wondered if this was some sort of indication that this meeting was going to be their only one. At some point, the movement stopped, though. Becky was still visible, if only barely. Miea could see Becky’s entire body now, lying on a bed.
As she watched, the darkness between them somehow became darker still. A dense black path connected her to her captivating new friend.
“Teach her about the path,” said the voice that was neither hers, Becky’s, nor her father’s. The words meant nothing to her.
She looked at the lightless space that led to Becky.
Suddenly, she understood the voice.
“Before you leave,” Miea said, hopefully loud enough for Becky to hear, “there’s something else I need to tell you. Something that will keep us in contact.”