Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I've begun the rewrites/edits for my first YA Fantasy novel The Phoenix Prophetess. The process is slow going. I've only done the first two chapters so far. The next two chapters are going to be completely new to the story, since I've decided to move the action forward a bit more quickly. I'm scrapping three chapters, adding two new ones, and then the story will continue where it was.

It's really not too bad doing the rewrites/edits so far. The first chapter needed a lot of work, but I was fairly happy with most of the second chapter. I have a feeling that is how most of the story will work. I'm just going to plug along a chapter at a time until the second draft is finished. Then, I'll send it to my second reader. I'll give it another go after she has a chance to read it and send it back to me. Hopefully after another round of rewrites/edits that it'll be ready to query agents.

I've also begun working on an outline for The Phoenix Sorceress, which is the second book in the Phoenix trilogy.

I've decided to give everyone a chance to preview the first chapter of The Phoenix Prophetess, but first, here is the blurb as to what the novel is about:

“Five hundred years shall pass since the last one. Apenth will choose a child born dead who shall live again. This child shall be known as the Phoenix Prophetess.” – The Prophecies of Amora, Vol. I

On the day Yssa was born dead, she was chosen as the Phoenix Prophetess and lived. As her thirteenth birthday approaches, she is hesitant to leave her good friend Tym and her family, and yet dreams of the faraway city of Amora and a boy she had never met haunts her.

“To announce the coming of the Phoenix Prophetess, a male child will be chosen by the god Apenth. He will be marked as she is, and he will spend out his days near her.” - The Prophecies of Gwendolith, Vol. II

At seventeen, Yssa has stepped into her rightful place as the Phoenix Prophetess in Apenth's temple. The boy from her dreams turns out to be quite a nightmare to her, and she doesn't know why Liam won't just leave her alone. Yet, she is glad for his help when she has a terrible vision of her parents' murder. Can she save them in time?

"As there once was a war in the south, there will be a war in the north from our mysterious neighbors. They will bring creatures we do not know, and it will be a fight for the life of our fair city." Brinlynn, Books of Prophecy, Volume IV

After a lengthy stay away from the city of Amora, Yssa and Liam return. The Prophetess has a vision of troubles in the north. Can she find a way to save the kingdom or will Amora fall before the Great Beyonders?

Here is the first chapter of The Phoenix Prophetess:

 Chapter One

A woman's gut-wrenching scream echoed across the tiny island of Mournia. A murder of crows caw-cawed and momentarily blocked the bright blue skies. The trees rustled in reply as a breeze caught their branches.

The island was less than a square mile in size, a mere bump in a gigantic sea like a turtle in a lake. A small, gray stone house sat directly in the center of the island to keep it away from high tides and the tropical storms that occasionally reared their ugly heads like a dangerous sea serpent and crashed into Mournia. The closest and only neighbor was a nearby island three miles away named Guntas.

The shattering scream of pain broke the peace again and was followed by another woman’s yell to push. A young man in his twenties could be seen outside the door of the small house. He paced back and forth like a caged lion. "Should I come in?" Johan of Amora called out to the midwife.

"You are not needed, Johan. Your wife is doing just fine. It should be any minute now," the midwife answered with a slight huff and a roll of her eyes as she pushed up her sleeves and peeked between Ania's legs. "I see the head crowning…full of rich, black hair. It won't be much longer," she announced with the certainty of her trade as she explained to the young mother.

Ania was barely twenty years of age, and this child was her and Johan's first. The young woman had lush, blond hair and cerulean eyes. Her complexion was a fading tan, since she had been nearly bedridden the last few weeks of her pregnancy and could no longer keep up the work that the island required from her.

Johan turned once more on his heel as he listened through the door of the house. He was concerned about his wife, especially since labor was difficult, and he knew that many women still died during childbirth. At least, he had foresight enough to get the midwife from Guntas to attend to the pregnancy. It was his fault that they were even on this small island, and he regretted that Ania couldn't be giving birth in the city of Amora, where they had some of the finest physicians and the Place of Lordéhi.

He ran his hand through his black hair and turned again. He was already creating a flattened path of earth in front of the door from his persistent pacing. "How is it going?" he inquired again. A cry of pain was his reply, and he could no longer stand being outside. He flung open the door and rushed to his wife's side. The poor dear was soaked with sweat, and he ignored the midwife when she told him to leave. "I am staying by my wife's side," stated the twenty-one year old man as he crossed his arms and planted his feet in defiance.

The midwife rolled her eyes and tried her best to ignore him. "Just stay out of the way," she muttered. Then, she focused on Ania. "When you feel the pain again, I want you to push with all your strength," she instructed her.

Ania barely could respond. She had been in labor for thirty hours, and she was exhausted. Yet, when the pain of her contraction came, she pushed with all her might. She felt something loosen within her, and it seemed like something was sliding out. Eventually, she collapsed into Johan's awaiting arms. "I can't go on any more," she whispered hoarsely.

"And, you don't have to," the midwife said as she held the newborn baby and cut the cord. She began to clear the baby's throat and smacked her rump to further clear the airway, but there was no cry and no sign of life in the female child.

"What's wrong?" Johan asked. His wife had passed out, but he knew something was wrong, although he had never seen a birth or been around one.

"Give me a moment. Don't crowd," the midwife snapped harshly as she placed the baby on the table and began to do her best to revive the poor creature.

The humans in the room weren't the only ones around who were watching the baby's life or lack thereof. Three goddesses watched over the child. They were triplets, but they had aged differently, and no one would even guess that they were siblings any more. Praetera, or past, appeared to be a maiden with her youthful features. Her slim body was just blossoming with womanly curves, and her radiant red hair flowed down her back. The second goddess was named Praesensa, the present goddess. Her hair was golden blond. She was matronly with heavy breasts and wide hips and was often seen amongst the other gods with children or animals by her side. She was a mother, despite the fact of never having a child.

The last, but not the least, goddess was Postera. She was the future, and she held it in her wrinkled and spotted hand. It was her job to determine the path of all living creatures and when that path may end. The goddess was a crone. Her once dark brown hair was streaked with silver and white. Deep wrinkles lined her face like a road map. It was her sky blue eyes that showed that she once used to be quite beautiful like her sisters. Postera had angered the Queen of the Gods when she was seduced by Thean, the King of the Gods. Kisa put a spell on Postera and made her age more quickly than her sisters. It was the one thing that Postera missed foretelling.

These three goddesses were watching the baby being born, and it was Postera who had cut the thread of life short. The three were not left alone for long when another god appeared before them. This god made Postera smile. "Apenth, my son, what brings you here?" she asked him as the boney hand touched the young god's cheek.

"Mother, I have come to say that the child belongs to me. She is the one." Apenth told her. He was handsome and strong. He had golden locks like his father, Thean, once had. Apenth held a special place amongst the peoples of the land. He was a god of prophecy and of healing. He also was a god of wisdom. People would come from miles around to worship at his temple on the Place of Lordéhi or to be healed by his caladria, the sacred white birds who foretold whether someone would live or die.

Postera stared sadly at the darkening cut thread. She hated to disappoint her one and only child. "It is too late, my child. Her life is forfeit. Her soul belongs in Hupogaia's realm."

Apenth shook his head in disbelief. "She is the one." He grabbed the thread from his mother's hands and held it together with the yarn of life. The blackened piece began to sizzle and turned from black to a blood red. It was now re-attached to the previous piece. "She is my child, mother. She belongs to me."

He turned from the three Fates and, unseen by the mortals, leaned over the baby. "You belong to me, little prophetess," he whispered into her ear before he gave her tiny forehead a kiss. His right hand touched her left breast. "Live," he commanded. When he removed his hand, a tiny birthmark in the shape of a phoenix was there. The baby's lungs filled with air, and her cry ripped through the grief as the Phoenix Prophetess was reborn.


Aubrie said...

It must have been hard to cut three whole chapters! I had to cut one chapter with my first book, and I still have it saved on a file somewhere as if it will ever be useful!! I just can't seem to throw it away! The first chapter is very gripping! From the blurbs I wonder why her friend turns into a nightmare!! And why they are linked together. (I always like the romance part of it)

Can't wait to read it!

Cherie Reich said...

I have saved the first draft as is. I'm copying it chapter by chapter into a new file and making the changes. It was surprisingly easy to cut two of the three chapters because I wasn't happy with them. The two new chapters will touch on the old chapters and create new conflicts for Yssa and her friend Tym.

*grins* You'll have to wait and see why Liam bugs the hell out of Yssa. As well as why they are linked. I still hope to finish it before long, so you can read the rest of it. :)

Aubrie said...

I awarded you The Honest Scrap Award on my blog!