BLUE SHADOWS FALL is a 106k word YA Fantasy that mixes the close-knit family and post-apocalyptic world of A Quiet Place with the superpowers of Red Queen and quirky wit of A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and VirtueMy story was inspired by my personal experience with autistic family members who made me wonder if their sensory sensitivities could be their super powers

The Apocalypse isn’t so bad for sixteen-year-old Blue Haven. She can see the feathers on a raven thirty miles out, read every pre-war book from memory, and the Shadow Elves—humans infected by mutation—are all dead. Her farming village has been safe in their hidden Blue Ridge community for the past 111 years, but that’s the problem. Her dreams of becoming a warrior are dashed by her reality of a shovel and a field of corn. The warriors are no longer recruiting, but the deep-seated suspicions of those like Blue with enhanced senses remain. 

Blue keeps her super-sight secret, until her visions reveal a horrible truth: the Shadow Elves, thought long dead, are alive—and they’re breeding. A small, delicate elfling is hidden right in the heart of her own town—a pawn in an outsider’s cruel game. As a horde of killer Shadow Elves amass to retrieve their small child, Blue develops an unexpected bond with the elfling. She must spirit him away before her village discovers him and kills him. But Blue isn’t the only enhanced human in town and the outsider’s plan is unwinding fast. He will have his blood. Blue must learn who to trust as she navigates this new world of super senses, elves, old friends, and new enemies.

I am a member of SCBWI and am actively engaged on twitter as part of a writing support group, the #llamasquad. I am a professional artist, selling my work of nursery geekery on etsy. When I’m not writing, I’m wrangling four independent children in whom I hope to instill a love of all things geek, book-loving, and artsy. Thank you for your time and consideration. 

 

Kind Regards,

Lenore Stutznegger

Chapter 1

Blue- “Haven”

 

Blink, count to five then blink again.

The mantra flowed through my mind like a never-ending song. I pulled in a long, cleansing breath of fresh morning air as puffy clouds drifted across the pink and purple sky. Right. Up here in the mountains I didn’t have to remember to blink. Here, I could just be me. It was sunrise and we’d only caught a few measly salamanders.

I scanned the woods as I sat beside my drowsy older brother, Hawk. His bare feet stuck out in my view. Red clay and grass clung to them like well-loved socks. I held my bow, arrow nocked but slack. 

Five robin eggs lay in a nest two miles away, one peregrine falcon with a thirty-nine-inch wingspan soared twenty miles out, a spider spun its silky web—the strands glistening with dew, 488 trees in a blink- 

Great, now I was counting trees.

I closed my eyes, allowing the momentary dark and the lilting buzz of the insects to clear my mind. The colors and light spun, mixing and glowing. Sometimes my eyes were so distracting.

Seven turkeys hobbled into view, taking the bait we’d laid out at the crack of dawn. Hawk sat up.

Steady. Nice and steady. Breathe in, breathe out. I aimed my arrow at the left eye of one of the fat turkeys. Eighteen large quill feathers, 178 yards away. Easy. Breathe out and-

A burp ripped open the sky. 

Turkeys scattered in every direction, feathers flapping, as my brother fell back onto the tall grass, laughing. A cloud of pollen exploded into the air. 

“Hawk!” I cried, my arrow flying wide. I swatted him on the shoulder with my bow. Tears trailed down his brown cheeks. 

“Oh, so close!” Hawk howled, wiping away a tear. “You shoulda seen your face, Blue!”

The rising sun crested the blue mountains, alighting Hawk’s freshly shaven skull. His black fro puff ran a perfect line straight down the back of his head. Out of the six of us siblings, Hawk and I looked the most alike, though I didn’t have a ridiculously showy mohawk. We shared the same shade of light brown skin, but my brown curls were untamed, flying wildly in the warm summer wind.

I smacked Hawk again as he rolled out of the way. “We’ve been out here forever, elf-brain! I’m done.” I shoved the rest of my weapons around my back and shot Hawk one of my best scowls. He beamed at me. “That’s the third kill you lost me this week.”

“What?” Hawk teased, “Rackin’ up kills like you’re some kinda warrior? That’s my job.”

“Oh, right,” I razzed as we gathered up our hunting gear. “I forgot, oh mighty warrior, what is it you do again? When was the last Shadow Elf you killed? Like a hundred years ago?”

“You never know, there could be an angry boot or soup can out there,” Hawk said, his eyes flicking over to mine. “But seriously, you’ve never seen anythin’ out there, right?