In a future where magic has replaced technology, 17-year-old Serena McIntyre convince Newly Unified New England States (NUNES) to respect Earth, or the planet will purge them from Her surface.
Young Adult Fantasy/LGBTQ+
||6 publishers interested
17-year-old Serena McIntyre grew up in a future where Mother Earth had purged most technology from the planet and crippled civilization. The surviving humans are reorganizing. Some want to live a simple life in harmony with earth while others have darker plans for a new society.
When a conference is called to choose leaders and laws for the Newly Unified New England States (NUNES), Serena must travel inland to represent her people and their way of life: equality, earth magic, and harmony with Mother Earth. The opposing factions will do anything to stop her. The White Supremacists want to purge the region of impurities and make themselves kings. A secretive faction of scientists want to “take back the earth” with new technology.
Can Serena convince the people of NUNES to live in harmony with Mother Earth? If she fails, Earth will purge humans from her surface.
Spoiler Alert This outline includes the end of the book.
1. Serena and her bodyguards, David and Regina, leave home for the NUNES conference. Serena is excited to finally travel outside her mother’s jurisdiction.
2. They arrive in Little Port without issue, but while they are there, they discover that white Supremacists are causing trouble and heading to the same direction as her. Serena meet up with her boyfriend, Erik. He is worried the trouble makers will discover he was born a girl and harass him because of it.
3. Serena, David, and Regina leave Little Port even though the weather is bad, hoping to get a head start on the white supremacist group that is also heading to the NUNES.
4. The rough waters turn into a full blown storm. Serena has to choose between using magic or drowning. She uses magic to keep the boat afloat.
5. They make it into the Port's Mouth. Just when they think they are safe, their small boat is rammed and run into rocks by a large Solar Barge.
5. Serena and her must delay to repair her boat. She takes a room at an Inn and while there, she meets some of the scientists who will oppose her at NUNES.
6. The next morning, Serena and the twins pull the boat out of the water. The same skeptical, scientist they spoke with last night ask for a demonstration of her magic. Serena reluctantly demonstrates her ability to levitate the boat, but they still do not believe it is magic.
7. Serena buys most of her replacement parts from a warehouse, but there is one broken part they do not have.
8. Serena finds a blacksmith who can make the part for her, but he wants more than money as payment.
9. Serena and the twins head to a sentient marsh where the blacksmith claims they will find an old machine he wants.
10. The marsh questions them and flirts with Serena before She allows them to take the machine, but it is too big for them to carry and will not fit in their borrowed canoe, so Serena must use magic to transport it, even though the magic feels like a choke collar tugging her towards home.
11. When they get back to the smith, a group of white supremacists are waiting to ambush them in the blacksmith's shop. Serena and the twins fight off the ambush. The blacksmith makes the part and Serena repairs the boat.
12. Serena makes it out of town without further damage to her boat or friends. The weather is favorable at first, but soon a heavy fog rolls in making navigation without technology nearly impossible. Serna hates using magic, but does not want to be late for the conference, so she uses a spell to navigate.
13. Serena and the twins stop to rest for the night when they get to a town, but town’s people drive them out because they do not conform to traditional gender roles.
14. A few hours later, they stop in a cove to sleep and wake just in time to see a time bomb floating towards their boat. Serena diffuses it with a spell, but it leaves her weak. Before she passes out, Serena uses another spell that enhances how far she can see. She discovers her friend Erik is tied up on the deck of the White Supremacist’s boat.
15. When Serena wakes, she uses more magic track Erik.
16. Serena rescues Erik from the boat of White Supremes, and cripples their ship.
17. The group is hesitant to rest in another strange town, but cannot find any secluded places to more in the river. Eventually, they pull into a port and check into an inn.
18. They meet a mage who is able to use his power away from home – something Selena’s mother claims no magician can do.
19. They arrive at the conference and find that there are already several factions there that oppose their values.
20. They debate as drafts are made up for the constitution, but people do not seem optimistic about their ideals.
21. A storm rolls in with high winds and lightening. Enemy camp catches fire and Serena uses magic to extinguish it. Serena uses magic to save a drowning scientists and uses magic again to shelter everyone from the storm.
22. The council accepts Serena’s demands, ratifying the treaty she wants. The scientist apologize for their skepticism, and become genuinely interested in helping Serena further understand how the magic works.
23. Serena returns home and confronts her mother about magic.
Young people between the ages of 12 and 18 will enjoy this book. However, it has potential to cross over into the adult audience. Additionally, anyone who loves nature and magic will enjoy this novel.
Additionally, it will appeal to the LGBTQA+ community as the main character, Serena, is genderqueer and bi. Her boyfriend is trans. Her body guards and friends, David and Reggie (Regina), are also genderqueer.
Sara Codair: dreamer and teacher of words. Nature lover.
Sara Codair lives in a world of words: she writes fiction whenever she has a free moment, teaches writing at a community college and is known to binge read fantasy novels. Since she was old enough to hold a pen, words have played an essential part of her life. She uses them to fight her anxiety and see through the haze depression creates. Words are what let Sara live.
She has three complete novels that she is seeking representation for from an agent. Reclaimed, the project she is seeking funding for, will be her fourth novel, and she has two more in the works.
Sara was the second place winner of Women on Writing’s Winter 2016 Flash Fiction contest. Her short fiction has been published in many venues including Youth Imagination, Secrets of the Goat People, Spaceports and Spidersilk, Women on Writing, The Lorelei Signal and Dark Magic: Witches, Hackers and Robots, Helios Quarterly, Hermeneutic Chaos and Ability Maine’s Breath and Shadow. When she manages to pry herself away from the words, she can often be found hiking, swimming, gardening or telling people to save the bees. Find her online at https://saracodair.com/.
One day, she may rewrite all her bios with gender neutral pronouns, but she doesn't like Xe. They makes her feel like she is more than one person (which may be true) and that scares her.
The first place I will promote my book is on my social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Blogger and Wordpress.
I am constantly working to build my following, but if I raise funds with this campaign, I will be able to afford to paid advertising to help my book reach even more readers.
However, making a book is expensive. It may not cost me much money to write the first draft and get feedback from beta readers, but it takes hundreds, maybe thousands of hours.
Professional editing can cost over $1,000. If you know me, then you know I need someone to catch the typos I can never seem to find on my own.
I have a cover, but I am a writer and photographer, not a graphic designer. If I have money left after getting the book copy edited, then I can hire a professional to make a cover that will really sell this book.
Of course, in ideal situation, I will get enough pre-orders to get an offer from a publisher who will do the editing and cover design for me. If that is the case, I will use extra funds to supplement whatever advertising the publisher is doing.
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The lake swirled around Serena’s house like a living moat. When the sun broke out of the gray clouds, it lit up the clear water, revealing trout, pike, pickerel, bass, sunfish and catfish darting in-between the waving grasses, bladderwort and elodea: queens of the lake’s floor. She could watch them for hours and never get bored trying to figure out what their wiggles and darts meant, but she was seldom allowed to do that these days.
She tightened her grip on the wooden railing. It was all she could do to stop herself from stripping down to her underwear and diving off the deck. She closed her eyes, envisioning the weightless bliss of floating in the lake and of being one with its community instead of being an observer.
“Serena, are you almost ready?”
Serena’s mother, Asana McIntyre, had a smooth yet firm voice that very few people dared disobey. It carried from the heart of the house out to the deck, propelled my magic that enhanced sound waves.
“I’m coming,” shouted Serena as loud as she could. It would have taken very little effort to reach out to blanket of magic surrounding the house and use it make her voice louder, but it tightened the cord that tethered her to both the magic and the Valley-Port Region her house was at the heart of.
Serena tore her gaze away from the lake. The house’s walls were covered in shingles of living tree bark. Its roof was mirror solar panels reflecting a clear blue sky. Serena was still getting used to the panels. When her mother and the council agreed to join the Newly Unified New England States (NUNES), they had gotten a new set of super efficient solar panels installed on the roof and six wind turbines in the lake.
Asana had been hesitant to accept, but since the technology did not harm the earth in any way and helped those who couldn’t use magic, she had allowed it. Serena liked how the electric lights enabled her to read at any time of night without using magic, but with all the extra political work NUNES brought, Serena seldom had the energy to read at night.
The double doors groaned open as Serena approached, and slammed shut behind her, practically pushing her into the library. Thousands of books lined the walls, resting on living branches. The oldest volumes were shaded from sunlight behind large green leaves. When Asana was just responsible for their town and trading with two nearby towns, Serena spent hours reading by the lake. Now, she had to work with groups from all over the area in a hierarchy so complicated it gave Serena headaches.
NUNES had its perks, but Serena suspected her mother missed the books too. Asana was not only a politician, but a scholar and mage. Her power was tied to the land, keeping the rivers within their banks and the soil fertile. Her magic allowed the region to thrive while others starved, but it came with a price.
If Asana ever set foot outside her territory, then the magic would allegedly fade and the lakes would swallow the land. In the early days, the swirling waters had kept the house and food safe from bandits too. Now, the Sheriff and her deputies took care of any criminals who didn’t play by Asana’s rules.
“There you are,” said Asana as she swished into the library. She was a tall woman with golden curls that hung down to her knees. She wore a dress, a patchwork of red, green, and blue. “Are you ready? You need to leave soon if you want to make it to the river for the tide change.”
“I was just taking one last look at the lake. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.”
Serena hugged her mother tight, savoring the way she smelled like soil and paper. Serena had been waiting her entire life to leave the Valley-Port region, and now that she had a chance to do so, she was actually scared.
Asana smiled, pulling back from the hug just enough to hold Serena at arms length. “The boat has a full tank of fuel. The hold is filled with bread, dried berries and fresh water. You enough supplies for a month, and the fuel should last get you up to the Port’s Mouth you go easy on the throttle.”
Serena grinned. Easy and throttle were not two words she generally put in the same sentence.
Asana let go of Serena, shaking her head. “This is not just a trip to pick up supplies at the Little Port. Be careful with your fuel. And remember, you are not only representing yourself, but our whole community.”
“I know, Mother. I won’t use any foul language, disobey nautical laws or do anything to sound like a whiney brat. I will assert myself when I need to stand up for the rights of our community, but will otherwise be polite. Plus, I’ll have David and Regina to keep me in line.”
“And to protect you.” Asana hugged Serena again, this time clutching her so tight she thought here ribs were going to pop. When Serena finally managed to escape the hug, she noticed her mother’s hands were shaking.
“Mom, are you okay?”
Asana nodded. “You be safe.”
“I will,” said Serena, but her mother was already gone.
As far as Serena knew, the mouth where the Merrimack River met the Atlantic Ocean was and always had been one of the most treacherous waterways on the eastern seaboard. It was also one of the few that remained unchanged. It flowed between two sandy beaches, and was riddled with rocky islands and sandbars that were only visible at low tide.
A herd of harbor seals lounged on the tops of black rocks, gulls lazily circled overhead and cormorants dried their wings on the ends of the Jetty. Just off shore, an Osprey dove towards the white-capped ocean and pulled a striped bass from the waves.
“It looks pretty rough out there.” David stood on the bow, shielding his eyes from the sun as he glanced out at the sea.
“She can handle it.” Serena patted The Whaler’s hull. She’d gotten caught in worse waves than this while fishing with her father. It had been hairy, but at the end of the day, they’d made it make in one piece, with enough fish to feed the family for a week.
“We have enough time and supplies to delay another day and see if this wind dies down,” added Regina.
David winked. “Hmmm, you could spend the afternoon with Erik.”
“I’m not letting a little chop stop me here. We have no clue what to expect when we start heading up river,” said Serena, but she was thinking more about the skinhead from the inn and how he could sway people who Mother was counting on as having allies against the tech-lovers.
“Didn’t ambassador Freeman give your Mom updated charts?” asked Regina.
“She did, but I don’t trust them. I don’t know who made them with what. All the charts Asana made of our territory were done with magic. Nothing is more accurate.” And now that she knew there was a third faction Mother wasn’t aware of, she wasn’t sure how much they could trust the ambassadors.
“You don’t think the ambassador’s people have mages?” David was still looking out at the chop.
“They might, or they might have been using three-hundred year old sextants. They either didn’t know or didn’t tell us about the skinheads. If we can’t trust their political assessments, then I’m not trusting their maps.” Serena pushed the throttle forward as she entered the currents rushing into the channel with the tide. The boat plopped up and down over two and three foot waves, crowned with frothy tiaras.
David hadn’t braced himself properly and wound up falling onto the floor.
Regina laughed. “You just wanted her to turn back so you wouldn’t fall on your ass.”
Serena hit another wave. A spay of cool, salty water crashed down on them, and when the boat leveled out, Regina was on the floor with David. “You might want to tie yourselves in place if you can’t keep your balance.”
The soaked twins glared at her, but hooked ropes through their belt loops and held on tight. “I hope it’s not like this all the way to The Port’s Mouth.”
Serena suspected it would get worse before it got better, but the twins didn’t need to hear that. It was hard enough to focus with thoughts about the skinheads rattling around in her mind. She didn’t need to hear her guards get all panicky about a little chop.
The wind howled at their backs, angry and cold, urging them onwards. Through the thin string that connected her to Earth’s blanket of magic, Serena sensed rage beneath the steady power. The sky was an ominous lead gray, ready to burst open and drench them with cold water.
“Is there any where to pull ashore?” shouted Regina from the floor of the boat. She was fearless when fighting a human, but terrified of Mother Nature.
“There is a little harbor half way between the Little Port and the Port’s Mouth,” said David.
“Or you could beach it,” said Regina.
Their voices were hoarse, barely audible over the growling engine and howling wind. Serena answered them by pushing the throttle forward as The Whaler climbed a six foot swell and slammed down the other side. The twins groaned. The cycle went on and on.
Serena held the wheel and throttle as tight as her sweaty palms would allow. Her arms itched from the vibrations and jarring. She was on her feet, never losing her balance no matter how hard the waves tossed her little vessel. She’d been in waters like this before. Once before. And she’d been fine, without using any magic. She’d also been alone with no one whining about getting tossed overboard.
“Serena, can’t you use magic to make this hurt less?” asked Regina.
“I would if I could,” added David. “I’m using all my power to dull my pain sensors and control my fear enough so I don’t shit myself.”
This time, it was Serena’s turn to groan. The twins could use a little magic to make themselves stronger in battle, but like most people in the Valley-Port region, they were one trick wonders. Erik could pull the currents towards the dock to help ships land. Jonny Wind could conjure a gale when he was angry. Most of the cooks at the inn’s and taverns had a knack for sensing what ingredients to blend. They hired wait staff with sensitive hearing and some of the servers could even read people’s thoughts. Farmers could coax their crops to bear fruit.
One the other hand, very few people could fully tap into the blanket of power and make it do whatever they wanted. That rare power was why Asana ruled Valley-Port region, and why Serena was slated to take over when her mother retired.
The wind, which Serena already guessed was blowing at a good 40 knots howled itself into a full-blown gale. The swells doubled in size, rising twelve feet from crest to trough.
“Serena! Do something!” screamed both twins simultaneously.
She didn’t waste time speaking. Closing her eyes, she reached for the magic all around her. She didn’t have time to shape it much. She went on instinct, creating a bubble of hot air around the ship so it rose up above the wave and rode the wind from one crest to the next instead falling and rising with the sea.
“Kill the engine,” she shouted.
She didn’t look to see who answered, but the grumbling outboard shut off. It was eerily silent inside the bubble. She could hear the twins breathing, but the wind and waves were merely muffled splashes.
“This is amazing,” whispered Regina.
That was when Serena opened her eyes. The waves were a blur of blue and white about ten feet below them.
“How fast do you think we’re going?” asked David.
“At least 60 knots,” said Serena, struggling to speak and maintain the spell. “I’m…I’m guessing we’re travelling at whatever speed the wind is.”
“Amazing. I didn’t know you could do stuff like this.”
“I didn’t either,” muttered Serena, but neither of the twins responded. She could already feel her own energy draining as it mingled with earth’s magic, and wondered if she looked as tired as she felt. Would this change how the twins looked at her? She was half their size and six years their junior. It wasn’t uncommon for them to ruffle her short brown hair or comment on how her nose looked like a button, just waiting to be pushed, or broken. They treated her more like a kid sister than a charge. Would they treat her more like an adult now? Or would they still see her as the same, skinny girl wearing cargo pants and wool sweaters that were three sizes to big?
“I wish we could travel like this all time,” said David.
“We’ll be at the Port’s Mouth in no time,” said Regina.
Serena hoped Regina was right, because she didn’t know how long she could maintain the spell for.