Category/Genre: YA/Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 69,000
Pitch: When a serial killer terrorizes St. Petersburg, 17-year-old Akira discovers strange links to a well-known Russian fairytale. Now she must stop an immortal hell-bent on adding her soul to his collection before he kills again.
Egg: I would be a Faberge egg made of blood-red enamel. I don’t really do sweets.
When I was very small, my grandfather told me stories of Koschei the Deathless.
He was trying to frighten me. They were the kinds of tales villagers told children to keep them from wandering alone into the woods, the Russian equivalent of Little Red Riding Hood. But just as there was nothing scary about a wolf wearing a bonnet and bifocals, there was nothing remotely frightening about my grandfather, so I paid little attention to his stories.
“Solavushka,” he began (he had called me “little nightingale” since I was an infant, when I kept everyone up all night with my “singing”), “the thing you must know about Koschei the Deathless is that he will not appear as a wicked old man with a long white beard, the way the storybooks say. He will not take you to his castle to make you his wife.”
I nodded as I examined my grandfather’s long, wiry eyebrow hairs, wondering why my grandmother didn’t trim them.
“Akira, are you listening?”
“Yes, Dedushka. I will make sure to stay away from Koschei.”
“You are not listening, child,” my grandfather grumbled, standing abruptly so I tumbled onto the floor. “How many times do I have to tell you?” He shook his head as he stormed off into the kitchen for some of my grandmother’s walnut oreshki.
“I met him when I was a young man,” he told me once, not long before he died. “He had taken the form of a small girl, just a year or two younger than you are now.”
“If he looked like a little girl, how did you know it was Koschei?” I asked.
“Because I saw his teeth. Rows and rows, needle sharp, like a shark. And he made a horrible noise, like an insect screaming. It was loud enough to raise the dead.”