Thursday, February 14, 2013

PAPfest Entry - WAR PROJECT 7



WORD COUNT: 105,000


Set on a far distant planet in the future, WAR PROJECT 7 is a young adult sci-fi novel with fantasy elements about a seventeen-year-old female soldier. Raised on a battlefield alongside other child-warriors, Mara lives to Protect. Her actions as a fighter, and now a leader, daily determine who lives and who dies.

Actions off the field have consequences as well, and the senior officers punish those with questioning minds, no matter the intent behind the questions. When Mara is wounded in battle and an enemy fighter not only heals her injury, but promises answers about the war, she’s compelled to risk treason and travel with him beyond the boundaries of her known world.

That the war is not a true war, but a war experiment, is the first in a series of challenging discoveries as new knowledge reshapes Mara's identity and new alliances work to shatter a system that values experimental design over human life.

This book would be a great match for fans of Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Beth Revis, and James Dashner because of the strong female main character, the action, and the scale of the conflict.

During the summer I teach classes to budding novelists in grades 5-8. I am a fellow of the Denver Writing Project and a member of RWA, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. I am a state and national-level presenter in gifted education, a black belt in Taekwando, and a former middle school English teacher.

FIRST 200:

Mara stared down the line of her fellow Protectors. Young faces looked back at her, expectant. Anyone over fifteen watched the trees and the shadows underneath the huge branches.

“Helmets,” she called. The Gaishan would appear by sunset, boiling onto the battlefield like ants from an anthill.

She nudged her horse through the ranks to the newest fighters. How many would be lost tonight? She stopped in front of a brother and sister she’d taught in combat class. Both clutched their long staffs. Both faces were blotchy with fear.

“Trust your training,” Mara said. When the two children just stared at her with wide amber eyes, she leaned out of the saddle. “Keep your staff between you and the enemy. If they hit you with powder, if you’re cut or touched with a weapon, run for the edge of the fight and don’t let anyone near, not even family, until a healer clears you.”

The small girl cast a worried look at her brother. “Yes, ma’am.”

Mara made her way back to the center aisle and stood up on the stirrups. This plus her own nearly two meters in height provided a view of her entire cohort.

“There’s six hundred Protectors out here tonight. And a hundred fifty is us, the Greens,” she yelled.

Someone in the middle rows whooped. A few laughed.

“We got a lot of new fighters with us. First fight,” Mara continued.

The standing soldiers shuffled like rows of plants in the wind. “First fight,” repeated along the lines.

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