GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 84,000
HIDDEN DEEP is complete at 84,000 words and won the 2012 Maggie Unpublished contest in the YA division. It is set in a version of our present world where beautiful and powerful Elves use glamour enhanced by modern technology to cover their existence and get whatever they want.
Sixteen-year-old Ryanne Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she'd be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She's a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping), and he's not supposed to exist.
After her father's affair, all Ryanne wants is to escape the fallout of family implosion and find a little peace. She also wouldn't mind a first date that didn't suck, but she's determined to make sure she protects her heart and never ends up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryanne has recently moved back to her childhood hometown in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.
She's still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He's still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she's with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryanne's strict policy-- never want someone more than he wants you.
Seventeen-year-old Ladd knows the law of his people all too well: Don't get careless and Don't get caught. It's allowed the Light Elves to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore. Ladd's never been able to forget about Ryanne since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He's not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.
And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark Elves is widening. Ladd may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryanne, blissfully ignorant and safe.
I envision Hidden Deep as the first part of a triology, though it can stand alone. I think readers who enjoyed the fated love vs. forbidden love story of Unearthly and the mysterious contemporary fantasy elements of Beautiful Creatures and Evermore will respond to Hidden Deep.
My previous writing samples were broadcast daily to thousands of people (though the word count was considerably lower!) through my work as a news anchor and reporter in Mississippi, Tennessee, California, and Rhode Island.
The first time I saw him, everyone convinced me he was a hallucination caused by hypothermia. It was the second time that really messed me up.
* * *
It was only mid-morning, but I couldn’t wait anymore. The need to get out there had grown stronger each day since we’d returned. With everything my mom had going on today, maybe she wouldn’t give me an argument this time. The screen door slammed behind me with a loud creak and double-bouncing bang.
“Ryanne? You going out?”
I exhaled loudly, then turned and faced my mother as she followed me out onto the back porch. She was dressed in her new red interview suit, a face full of going-somewhere makeup, and her hair up in clips where she’d been straightening it in sections. She’d rushed to the door in her stocking feet, causing a fresh run to start near her big toe.
“I left a note on the counter. Just going for a walk—you know.” I shrugged. No big deal. I glanced down and nodded toward her foot. “You’d better change those.”
“Shoot!” She hiked up her skirt and started ripping off the pantyhose.