Last #Pitmad query and pitch

He is the scion of two dragon households, straddling in two worlds. But the Dark Claws hate him. UF. #pitmad

Dear agent,

I would submit my novella “Dark Claw” for consideration. It is approximately 30,000 words, urban fantasy and targeted at urban fantasy readers and general fans of this genre.

“Dark Claw” explores the adventures of Gabriel Sutherland, the half-drake, half-Lung son of Lord Kevin Sutherland, leader of the Sutherland drake clan. Not only does Gabriel have to deal with the issues of being half-drake, he has to deal with the threat of the Dark Claws, dissidents amongst the drake clans. Recalled back to Singapore, after a self-exile to Australia, what could Gabriel do?

I am Singaporean. My short stories appear in sf/f publications such as Fang, Claw And Steel, a zine for anthropomorphic stories, Crossed Genres (Issue 9 – Alternate History – “A Matter Of Possession”), the Apex Book of World SF, WE See A Different Frontier and Semaphore Magazine. Likewise, my urban fantasy series is also published under J. Damask.

I feel that an urban fantasy novel set in Singapore is unique in that it will provide an alternative background to the usual white/American/United Kingdom settings.

Warm regards,
Joyce Chng


Brother Ignatius’s deep voice woke me up from my nap.

I sat up, flexing my shoulders. Ground-keeping work was hard. But I relished it and kept my inner demons at bay. A thin layer of perspiration gave my skin a faint sheen. It was the height of summer in Western Australia and the landscape reflected the intense dryness. It was bare, bone-dry and hot, without the stifling humidity of the tropics. The olive trees lining the pavement shimmered with the sun light, their leaves now curled inwards, purple fruits now full and rich with oil. Brother Ignatius told me that they were inedible. We were deep inside tracts of bush land and karri trees. The sand was parched with a hint of burnt aromatic wood. At night, the sharp fragrance of eucalyptus filled the air.
The monastery’s buildings were white with the glare of the sun. Most of the brothers were wisely indoors. So, it was significant, that Brother Ignatius came all the way to the main grounds to look for me.

Home, I suddenly thought. I dropped the rake and sheepishly picked it up. My skin prickled. I didn’t like the feel of anxiety suddenly spiking inside me. It was an unwelcome sensation in the midst of tranquility.

“Gabriel,” Brother Ignatius had dark patches on his robes. He was perspiring too, but his face always bore a gentle smile. I was glad that he took me in. For months, I worked at the gardens, cleaning the monastery’s kitchens and toilets, and carried the flour that they ground for their bakery. The brothers were famous for their sweet nut cakes and pastries.

“There was a call,” the Benedictine brother continued. I gazed at his blue eyes. The phone call was from home. I knew it and suppressed a shudder.

“Was it my Father?” I ventured, my throat as bone-dry as the fallen branches on the ground. I pretended to rake the leaves. The eucalyptus trees were shedding more than usual.

Brother Ignatius nodded.

“What did he say?” I pressed on, deciding that it was better to get it over and done with. As much as I would like to get away from drake affairs, I couldn’t, thanks to modern technology. Sharon had already sent me a cryptic email along the lines of “Be careful, bro!”, which I deleted promptly.

“He wants you to return to Singapore,” the Benedictine brother answered, absent-mindedly scratching his bald head. I admired Brother Ignatius. He ran the monastery and its attached bakery like a tight ship, handling its accounts, its management and the brotherhood deftly and skillfully. He had taken me in, as a groundkeeper and jack-of-all-trades, without question. He was also Father’s close friend and an ally of the Sutherland clan.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. khaalidah (@khaalidah)
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 18:44:00

    Very interesting excerpt. Should be longer. Good luck!


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