Dark Bird

Most of you know I’ve been hard at work for the last year, finishing a novel. The first question everyone asks is – When does it come out? And the answer is – After I get an agent, do a bunch of rewrites, sell it to a publisher, do a bunch of rewrites and go through a rigorous editing and production process.

Currently I’m working to find representation and today that process includes posting my query and first page as part of an online contest to get my work in front of some impressive literary agents. So, for everyone who’s asked for more details about the book, here goes:

Title: Dark Bird
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 70,000 words


Neen Sinclair’s obsession with super hero Dark Bird has gotten her into trouble more than twice, but she’s always been able to roundhouse kick her way out of it. Always, that is, until her little sister Mae decides to offer herself up as chum in the fight against evil. In trying to protect everyone else, Neen has inadvertently led her sister into danger.

So, when she’s offered a spot on a dive team at a wealthy Seattle high school, Neen leaves Dark Bird and her vigilante lifestyle behind in an attempt to set a different kind of example. Concentrating on her sport, she will become Neen the straight A student, Neen the championship diver with a billion college scholarship offers, Neen who leaves crime-fighting to the professionals and no longer has a chair with her name on it in the principal’s office.

However, cross-training at an off-the-grid martial arts studio, Neen ends up entangled with Hayden, an unpredictable and easy-on-the-eyes teen crime fighter who embodies everything she’s trying to run away from. Diving competition takes a back seat as a psychopath with a Robin Hood complex starts terrorizing her classmates’ wealthy families, and she can’t resist taking a stand.

As Hayden and Neen train and work together, she finds herself pulled further and further from her mysterious roots. But can they succeed at taking down their nemesis without the help of Dark Bird, a hero whose connections to Neen go far deeper than anyone realizes?

First 250 Words:

We’re so close now.

My heart echoes in my chest and I wonder if he can hear the drum beat of my fear. But he doesn’t look up, too focused on his own careful movements. Creeping along the stone wall, I struggle to calm my breath.

I’m getting stronger and, whether real or imagined, there’s a power to Dark Bird that gives me more confidence in myself. Just saying that name gives me a sense of protection, and standing here with this guy in front of me, I feel a surge of strength greater than my own.

Dark Bird is powerful. I am powerful. Tonight I make the first move, striking forward from my place in the shadows.


The wipers squeak across the surface of my windshield as I turn the key in the ignition. Screech, slam, screech, slam. They were running full tilt during yesterday’s deluge but today they only serve to startle me, adding one more knot to my mounting anxiety, a gut-tugging anticipation that’s left me slightly shaky all morning.

Whatever happens, after I cross the lake today, things will be different. I tell myself that I like nearly everything about different, except maybe the fact that it means things won’t be entirely the same. There are things I’ll miss.

I ease my car down our gravel drive, weaving to avoid the familiar potholes, only to slam down hard into a fresh one. Pavement would be nice here, Dad. But I’m sure I’ll get plenty of that in Seattle.

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30 Responses to Dark Bird

  1. Ooh! I LOVE this! It sounds absolutely fantastic! I sense good things for this manuscript.

  2. OMG. The new first page gives me chills. ROCK ON!!!


  3. Elizabeth says:

    What are we supposed to be clicking? I followed Julie over here, Lilan followed me, we’re ready to click!


    • You guys are awesome. The only people actually voting are the agents. 4 Authors each pick a team of 10 entrants to coach and polish. Then 8 agents look through the 40 finalists and vote for their favorites. Each vote is also a request for a partial or full manuscript.

  4. Jill says:

    Fantastic page Kathryn! Can’t wait to read the rest!

  5. Hi Kathryn, I’m stopping by from the Writer’s Voice Contest to wish you the best of luck! Nice to meet you.

  6. Emily says:

    You should be a shoo in!

  7. You had me at martial arts. 🙂 Dark Bird? very intriguing.

  8. C.G.Ayling says:

    Good luck, and keep at it with family – and the writing!

  9. Heffalump says:

    Cool! It sounds like a book I’d read. I hope you get some interest and can get the ball rolling towards publication soon!

  10. Mia K Rose says:

    Stopping by to wish you luck in TWV. 🙂

  11. Becca C. says:

    Great entry! Good luck in the contest!

  12. Heather says:

    Love this. You are going to get chosen for sure.

  13. I love your description of the pothole–I hate that! What a cool premise.
    Good luck!
    Kristen #147

  14. April Wall says:

    Good luck from one contestant to another!

  15. Betsy says:

    Awesome first 250! Best of luck – #197

  16. Great concept, Kathryn! 🙂 Good luck!

  17. Ashley Maker says:

    Cool concept! I love the idea of a strong heroine who can roundhouse kick her way out of trouble 🙂 Best of luck!

    Ashley #78

  18. SC Author says:

    AWESOME first page! Gave me chills as I read it! I really want to know more about Dark Bird too. Nice job, and good luck!

    SC (#159)

  19. Great excerpt! Good luck!

    ~Nicole, entry 68

  20. K.L. Layton says:

    Nice to see someone from this part of the world… You are from Seattle, right? I’m right across the Sound.
    Hey, good luck! I thought it was pretty interesting. I, personally, would pick it up and give it a chance.

  21. Sweet! Love how she finds herself getting sucked back in!

    Good luck!

    Brandi #199

  22. Best of luck!
    Carolyn, #157

  23. Marlina says:

    I can’t wait for the rest of the pages

  24. All the best for your book. Definitely sounds very interesting! Can’t wait to read the rest.

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