Down’s Dragon by S. Schilling-Kreutner
How do you know when somebody pushes “play” on a paused apocalypse? A dragon over the Kansas Flint Hills might be a clue…
Down’s Dragon is an 85,000 word young adult fantasy that combines a “behind the scene” supra-plot like McCaffrey’s YA Harper Hall with edgy, first-person narrative similar to Butcher’s adult series, The Dresden Files.
Friday Jones is perfectly happy kicking her Doc Martens back with a Sunny D at her sister’s bar in rural Miramar, but after she totals her Harley—thanks to a cruising dragon—a new world opens up like a Butler County sinkhole. This time, fracking isn’t to blame. Franky, the hottie motorcycle mechanic, invites her to his grandfather’s place. The surrounding communities think Salazar Ranch is a camp for wayward teens. They’re wayward, all right—way weird. The ranch fronts for a troop of juvenile wizards. Belowground hulks an ancient, magical city. Genies and fairies and dragons… oh, my. Down ain’t the Emerald City.
They await a reincarnated super-mage. The problem is, she won’t remember her previous life and they’re practically drowning in doppelgangers. Friday’s a candidate—but when the mega-villain attacks, she joins Salazar’s delinquents, instead. Let someone else save the universe. She’s too busy turning Wichita upside down chasing her shadowself, trapping dragons and rescuing “normals” from tantrum-ing genies. …Not bad for a girl from Bofooked. Eat your heart out, Dorothy.
S. Schilling-Kreutner grew up in Sedgwick County, KS, earned a BA from WSU and taught night school students to write before haring off into the world.
The Book Doctors: We find this a wonderfully written pitch. All the particular details really bring it to life. From DOC Martins to Sunny D, to the sinkhole in Butler County. The voice has a wonderfully sarcastic tone, lots of nice wordplay. For example, Wayward = way weird. And finally some great comparable titles. Everyone should pay attention to the way these are presented here. They display deep knowledge of the genre, and call out particulars in these works that will attract similar readers. We love the fact that there is a supra-plot, but we didn’t quite see how this is manifested. The pitch does get a little dodgy as we move below ground (or “belowground” as it says above), into the camp for way weird teens that’s actually a front for juvenile wizards. First of all, as soon as you have a camp for juvenile wizards, you venture into very familiar territory. So immediately we need to see what’s different about your troop of juvenile wizards than all the others we’ve seen through the years. What’s different about your genies and fairies and dragons? And we’re a little confused by the doppelgängers. Might be fun to have us see Friday come face-to-face with her doppelgänger, and later try to chase down herself. We don’t really understand what a super-mage is. Or how one is reincarnated. And what is Friday a candidate for? Even though we love how much fun you have describing it, we don’t understand what a tantrum-ing Jeannie is. We love the saucy allusions to the Wizard of Oz. But when you take us into this new world that you’re building, we need to see it more clearly, understand it more fully. And then there are the dragons. Instead of telling us about her accident on her Harley and tossing the Dragon in as a throw-away in the middle of the sentence, maybe show us that scene, with the Dragon barreling down on her as she’s whipping through Kansas on her her iron steed. Because again, we need to know how dragons fit into your version of Kansas. Cool setting, cool characters, cool voice, just needs to make clear how the magical part of the story is going to play out, and exactly what the heck it would be like to have dragons in Kansas.
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