I've been so excited about this win!
I thought I'd post a few paragraphs from "HUMAN CHILD", my YA fantasy novel:
My heart beat out of its cage. I wished to be anywhere but here, living with this shadow of Faerie. Listening to the murmurs of Changeling, I tried to lock out the meaning, but the word had buzzed in my thoughts for too long. Worrying me. Beating me down. Feeding my growing doubt that perhaps I was not a human child. My hands went to my stomach. My mouth filled with saliva and I fought the slurry rising from my gut. Surely the fact that salt did not affect me, and iron had no power to repel, proved I was a child of Adam, not Oberon.
I stood alone. Not one of the cowards massed along the perimeter risked looking at me. The faerie with the evil eye, the one who could ruin them with a glance.
A figure slipped tentatively along the wall of shoppers, tracing a shield knot on her forehead as she approached. The girl moved gracefully. Blond hair flowed in curls around her face, framing cheeks and lips blushed crimson. I could more easily believe her Faerie, than I, with my dull, nut brown hair, olive skin and hazel eyes.
The binding ring on her finger glistened as she clutched her shawl to her breast. She would soon be wed, love a man, have children. I wanted to curse her for her good fortune.
Her lips moved feverishly as she passed. I caught some of the words she muttered, “…shield… circle’s bound… bury evil…” I recognized that familiar prayer. We were the same age. In another life we might have been friends, whispering secrets of marriage into each other’s ears. Instead, she prayed for my death.
I called up my own protection. Hate. I pounded it into armor. Let it pierce through skin, and muscle, and bone, to encase my heart. It was my strongest defense.
I feigned a move toward her. The girl cried out and sped away. I wanted to chase after her, catch her wrists and twirl her around. Grip her face between my two hands, and rattle her skull until she looked into my eyes. I wanted to scream that I had no evil to cast over her, that I didn’t want to steal her luck, or her worthless soul. Instead, I turned and followed the fragrances of lavender, peppermint and basil, to the root doctor’s stall.