Name: Ann Braden
E-mail: annbbraden at gmail.com
Title: Swimming with Tchaikovsky
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Pitch: When Sally’s Russian host father is kidnapped for exposing govt corruption, all seems lost. Until Sally’s music creates visions of the past.
1st 250 words:
With her cello strapped to her back, Sally picked her way past the trash huddled in the eddies of the stairwell as she made her way down from the third floor apartment. Just days before her flight, her friends had warned her that she wasn’t tough enough to handle a week in Russia. Sally had been dabbing at her eyes at the time, having just watched a particularly moving McDonald’s commercial, but she had argued back anyway.
“But I’m used to competitions.”
“It’s not the competition we’re thinking about -- it’s everything else. You’re just too sensitive.”
At the bottom of the stairs, Sally pushed against the metal door to the outside. It didn’t budge. She grit her teeth and pushed harder. I’m NOT too sensitive.
The heavy door disagreed.
With a slight growl, she slammed her shoulder into it, only to get her purple fleece caught on the deadbolt that was quietly holding the door in place. She groaned and turned it. As the door swung out over the stoop, it barely cleared something sprawled across her path.
A man’s body stinking of alcohol.
The man groaned, and his arm twitched as he swatted at something on his face. Not too sensitive, right? She took a deep breath. Right. She leaped over the man, just missing the edge of his leather jacket. Then she straightened up and headed for the concert hall.
When she turned onto Nevsky Prospect, the main street of Saint Petersburg, cold wind whipped through her hair.