MENTOR: Jaye Robin Brown
ALTERNATE: Chelsey Blair
CATEGORY/GENRE: YA Contemporary
WORD COUNT: 88,000
PITCH: Itinerate musician Meridian Ashton breaks ties faster than she changes strings on her guitar. But after losing her leg—and her inspiration--in a humiliating accident, she discovers that learning to connect might send her down a new path to rock-stardom.
Claude, the long-bearded street performer who taught me to play guitar would have called the beer-scented draft un mauvais vent. An ill wind. He would have retreated in deference to the omen, but I couldn't think like that. In an hour, the open space in front of me would be packed with people who’d expect music that would make them want to dance, to jump, to scream. To fill the air with body heat, and vibrancy, and passion. I had to provide them with that. I couldn’t get freaked out by air-conditioning.
“Oh my god, Meridian, this place is awesome!” My cousin Natalie bounded past me onto the stage. “I’ve never been in an empty club before.”
Her expression, a wide-eyed mixture of reverence and excitement, reminded me I didn’t have time to give into fear. I had a show to put on. “Me either,” I admitted.
“Really? But you’ve been to, like, a million concerts, all over the world. And your friends have connections.”
“They’re more like my associates.” I wouldn’t admit it to anyone else, but she was pretty much my only friend, even though she was two years younger, and I usually lived half a world away. Maybe because of that. “True about connections, though. If I do well tonight, Denis said he’ll book me in every club he knows.”
“And you’ll have a ton of groupies, and they’ll all be jealous of me,” Natalie said, slipping easily into the fantasy we’d built over the years.
“Forget groupie. You're strong enough to be a roadie.”