A Tiny Taste of Magic

Posted: March 19, 2014 in Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

ImageI thought I would tease you all a little by posting a fragment of our WIP, The Last Princess.  Not because I’m lazy and don’t want to write a blog post today.  I am lazy, but I’m posting this excerpt because I think you might like to know what I’ve been talking about.  Briefly, this is what The Last Princess is about:

Cat Brökkenwier has a secret — the ability to see that the descendants of faeries and elves and ogres still walk among us. With the help of an ancient diary she learns she may be the last princess of all the fae. Now Cat must learn all there is to know about the secret world of the fae-born and earn the crown before another, more sinister candidate beats her to it. Or worse, before her mother finds out.

I believe this is called the “elevator pitch.”  And it strikes me as odd because I hardly ever find myself in an elevator.  And if I do, I am unlikely to recite this to the stranger standing next to me.  But who knows; maybe that’s how book deals go down.  Here’s the prologue:


I looked with wonder at this little old lady squinting at me with the greenest eyes I’d ever seen.  “Who are you, my fairy godmother, or something?”

“Your’n?  No.”  She sat back.  “And a faerie’s about the worst choice for a godmother you could possibly pick.  Don’t you ever read?”

“Of course I read!  I’ve read the complete Brothers Grimm, all of Hans Christian Anderson—”

“Piffle and poppycock!”


“Those’re mostly bedtime stories for children, girl.  But who told those stories to the Grimms, eh?”  She winked and cackled.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re a hard nut to crack, m’girl, and no lie.”  She shook her cane at all of the carved creatures littering the walls and shelves of her booth.  “Sprites and brownies and elves!  Goblins!  Banshees!  Trolls!”  She pointed at each one in turn.  “They’re all real!  Or were.  Most have gone a’hiding.”  She pointed a gnarled finger at me.  “’Cept you know how to find ’em.”

I just stared at her, the hair on my neck standing up.  “How?”

“Because you’re one of ’em.”


Okay, that’s a real tiny taste.  Too tiny.  Here’s a scene from much later in the book, when Cat is in the middle of her quest to become the Last Princess:


Rose looked at me, then at Nanny Schumacher.  “Nanny?  Don’t brownies have magic?”

“You’re finking of elves, dear.  They get’s us mixed up in stories.  Baking cookies and sewing shoes and making toys.  That’s brownies, but they calls us elves.  Only brownies don’t ’ave magic dust like in the stories.  No such fing as magic dust.”

Rose sat back next to me.  “Oh.”  She looked more disappointed than I felt.

Nanny Schumacher put down her glass.  “But there is magic.  Wait right ’ere.”

Rose and I looked at each other as the little old woman rummaged noisily through her closet, muttering under her breath.  I nibbled at what was left of my fingernail.  If Rose’s nanny couldn’t get me a mouse skull I could forget about impressing the ogres.

“Oi!  ’Ere it is!”  Nanny Schumacher returned and triumphantly set a dusty wooden box on the table.  She blew the dust off with a mighty huff, then sneezed.

Rose leaned forward.  “What is it?”  She reached for the box.

“You just keep your ’ands to yourself, Roselyn Connelly.”  Nanny Schumacher shooed her back and pulled a dust rag from her sleeve.  She polished the box lovingly until it looked like new.  Well, really, really old, but … clean.  “It’s a music box.  Me mum gave it to me when I was just a girl, and ’er mum before ’er and all, back a dozen generations.”

She unhooked a tiny latch on the front and opened the top.  The inside was lined with red velvet and the lid had mirrors on the inside so you could see the small carved wooden figurines from all sides when they moved – a brownie woman holding a shoe in her lap and a brownie man with a hammer poised over a wooden toy.  Nanny Schumacher slipped a little key into the hole in the front of the box and turned it a few times to wind it up.  Then the music box gave a ping, a grind, and a sad clunk and the little hammer moved a bit.  Then nothing.

Nanny Schumacher sighed.  “Only it’s broken.”

I wanted to touch the pretty carved wood of the box, but I didn’t dare.  “What’s it supposed to do?”

“You ever hear the story of the Pied Piper?  Same fing.”  She sat down and rested her chin in her palms, staring sadly at the music box.  “Me gran said it worked a treat when she was a girl.  You’d wind it up and all the mice and spiders and fings would come for a listen, in a trance like.  And you could just sweep ’em out the door, quick as you please.”

“What did it … sound like?”

She looked up at me.  “Don’t know.  I never ’eard it.  Me mum told me gremlins got to it.”

Rose choked.  “Gremlins are real, too?”


I hope you find this as enjoyable as my daughter and I do.  We’re about halfway done with the first draft of the novel.  If you would be interested in being a beta reader, let me know in the comments and I’ll put you on the list.

Would you like me to post more excerpts from The Last Princess in the future?  For more, also please check the The Last Princess tab, above.

  1. You’ve certainly got a good pitch worked out – something I still need to do, personally. I also like your dialogue; I can really hear Schumacher when she speaks :).

    I wish you the best of luck in seeing this project through to the end. Have you had any thoughts concerning publication yet, out of interest? Or are you planning to leave that until you’re further along?


  2. Thank you for your interest and your kind words.

    Honestly, I’ve been itching to send out query letters to agents. I subscribe to Writer’s Digest, and monthly they e-mail a list of agents actively seeking books in my genre, some very specifically looking for exactly what The Last Princess is. But I’ve been coached that to do so would be disastrous. Because if they like it and ask for the rest of the book and I can’t provide it, I will have just put a huge black mark on my record as a potential author.

    So I’m waiting until I have a solid, polished manuscript.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jmgajda says:

    That was great! My favorite part of the pitch was “Or worse, before her mother finds out.” That made me laugh. And I like that it’s written from a first person narrative. It feels more like reading someone’s diary or having them tell you the tale in person. I think what you have so far is fairly solid and well written. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandra Coopersmith says:

    Definitely put me on the list – I’m enjoying this!


  5. That a great pitch! It did the job…made me want to read the book. 🙂


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