Leslie Rush – YA Speculative with Magical Realism – DREAMWALKERS

Dear Agent,

Between keeping up with her nine-year-old genius brother, Brian, and working in her mom’s New Age shop, seventeen-year-old VIVIAN HAWK is pretty sure this is the summer that will finally bore her to death. The only escape from her tiny New Mexico town is the gift she inherited from her Apache father—the ability to control her dreams. But lately that control is slipping, stranding her in a repeating nightmare that seems to follow her even when she’s awake.

When she finds a jacket she suspects belonged to her father, Vivi steps beyond her usual lucid dreaming and discovers the electrifying secret of Dreamwalking—the ability to control the dreams of others. But it comes with a deadly menace: the Stargate Project, a government mind-control program that her father helped build, has now set its sights on Brian, mistakenly believing he is the one with the power.

Sought out by fellow-dreamwalker Lucas, who is convinced their fathers are still alive, Vivi ventures deep into Dreamland to find a way to protect Brian. But the conspiracy that links Vivi and Lucas is closing in as a rogue CIA agent kidnaps Brian for his army of Stargate dream warriors. To rescue her brother Vivi must unlock the power to control thoughts as well as dreams –a power that begins with her father’s quiet words: Walk with me.

DREAMWALKERS combines a multilayered dream world, a CIA program torn from the history books, and the all-consuming chemistry of first love. Fans of Robert Anderson’s Dreamland and Don’t Close Your Eyes by Lisa McMann will be drawn by the dangerous blending of the dream world with the awake. At 83,000 words, it is a stand-alone novel with series potential. 

DREAMWALKERS was chosen for the 2018 WriteMentor Program, and made the #PeerPitch 2017 Top Ten.

I have published two non-fiction articles and one short story. My essay, “The Secret of Santa,” was featured on The Washington Post site, The Huffington Post, and Today.com. Disguised as a history teacher, I have spent years eavesdropping on my target audience and I have been a guest reviewer for Pamela Thompson’s popular, award-winning YA novels blog, Young Adult Books: What We’re Reading Now.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Leslie Rush

DREAMWALKERS

Prologue:

Transcript [FILE 201 130614SANTA FE (03:27)]

Raven: Requesting Stargate SIT REP.

Trigger: We found them. Asset validation complete. ET mission complete 140 hours.

Raven: Copy that. I’m going in. Initiate target acquisition

                                                    

Chapter One

The worst thing about living in the Land of Enchantment is that it hardly ever lives up to the promise of that name. When we first moved here I thought there would be actual magic–maybe the sky would change color at my command. A nighthawk with my father’s voice would tell me the secrets of the desert, or show me how to fly. Even though New Mexico looked mostly like desert, I figured that was just a clever disguise. The magic was hidden, but I would find it.

Seven years later, well, The Land of Enchantment sounds great and sells a lot of T shirts, but the magic is hard to find and slippery when you do. There are enchanted spots, if you know where to look, and when the sun sinks into its fiery cauldron of color every evening I almost believe. But controlling the skies and the animals, flying wherever I want to go? I can still only do those things in my dreams. Mom won’t let me get my driver’s license yet, so when I’m awake the only flying I’m doing is on my bike.

Fortified with coffee, yogurt and a handful of pecans, I’m loading up my backpack for the day when Brian shuffles in, still in his faded Spiderman pajamas. I don’t know how my little brother can tell, but he takes one look at me and shakes his head.

“That dream again?”

“Uh huh. Third time this month.”  It’s the one dream I can’t control–a lightning-cracked nightmare, a ravenous storm of panic and rolling thunder. Normally I would have gathered it in before it takes shape, the way Dad taught me, but I never feel this one coming until it’s too late.

“I’m glad I never dream,” Brian announces, opening the refrigerator. “Oh, gross. Almond milk again.” Yawning and scratching his light brown, sticking-out-all-over hair, he pours a bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch, dumps the last of my cream over it and plops into a chair to dig into the cereal.

“You do too. Everyone dreams. You calculate the secrets of the universe in your sleep. I’m just lucky you don’t remember them, or you’d beat me to graduation for sure.” I’m only half-teasing. Brian’s not even ten, but he’ll be finished with high school before he’s twelve.

“I told you when we were taking Pre-Cal to let me help you,” Brian slurps an enormous mouthful from his spoon, wiping his cream mustache off with the back of his hand.

“I’m a senior now,” I remind him. “Even if you did get all of the math and science DNA in our gene pool, I don’t think you can catch up with me.”

Brian spies my paint box. “Are you finishing the sign today?”

 

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