Jacque Summers

All the Shades of Night by Jacque Summers

Mayleen, a blacksmith apprentice, must use her Earth Magic to discover who is poisoning the world’s dragons and stop them before the Four Kingdoms are thrown back into another bloody war.

Mayleen assembles an unlikely group, each who bear their own magic as well as pain: a queen whose loss has blinded her to the slow decay of her kingdom, a princess whose fear leaves her open to misuse, and an assassin whose tragic love leads her to kill her own brother.

When diplomacy fails, these four women have to come together, adapt, and learn to use their Earth Magic so that together they can break the poisoning spell cast on the dragons.

Each character has a complex relationship with the other members of the group. There are secrets that must be revealed if they are to overcome their deepest fears. Only then can they slay the caster who is poisoning and ultimately skinning dragons alive to gain world domination.  But the true betrayal comes from the last person Mayleen expected.

This young adult fantasy mystery, set in an early iron-age society with a California-esque environment, has a balance of adventure, battle, travel, and love. In this world, no one is judged by their gender or sexual preference, they are judged by their courage.

I have won SCBWI manuscript awards and sold short stories and picture books for the last ten years. My Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing focusing on Fiction will be completed this August.


The Book Doctors: I’m a sucker for books with strong female characters. Apparently, so is the rest of the world. So you’re definitely barking up the right tree here. This is a very professional pitch, very well done, with lots of information in it. I love how you define the world you are creating for us: “an early iron-age society with a California-esque environment.” I would like you to support that with a few word pictures. Show us that you’re capable of painting beautiful and realistic tableaux as you make this world come to life. I also really like the fact that our heroine is a blacksmith apprentice. It would be great to give tiny little physical descriptors to your main characters. I imagine our heroine has big arms and shoulders and is definitely not afraid of getting dirty. I also really like that in your world, no one is judged by their gender or sexual preference, but rather by their courage. Would that we lived in a world like that! I don’t quite understand a couple of things though. You use the term “Earth Magic” a couple of times. You know exactly what that means. How is your magic different than the magic I’ve seen in approximately 1 million other stories? I don’t really get a sense of the villain. I know you have limited time, but it would be great to have a bad seed at the center of your story whom we love to hate. And I don’t think the end of your pitch is dramatic enough(the fact that true betrayal comes from the last person our heroine expected). You have us invested in this plucky band of misfits stopping the dragons from being poisoned and saving the world, but what happens if they fail? I believe that’s what you should leave us with.