We are currently seeking representation for our novel, THE CITY OF GOLD AND FIRE. If you have any questions or if you’re interested in a copy of the synopsis, please contact us directly at olive.aristen@gmail.com.


THE CITY OF GOLD AND FIRE is a multi-POV flintlock epic fantasy complete at 128,000 words with series potential. The story would appeal to both older YA and adult fantasy readers of SIX OF CROWS, EMBER IN THE ASHES, and THE BLADE ITSELF.

Two types of people exist in the city of Rykon: the Pures and the Branded, who are infused with magical energy and forced to bend to the whims of their Pure masters. Magic bestows great skills, yet carries the risk of injury or even death to all who use it.

One of the most celebrated Branded dancers in Rykon, Dahlia Vessa has spent her life in chains and dreams of only increased fame, for she’ll never be free. But when Dahlia’s masters purchase Astara DiRel, who confidently spouts off about friendship, freedom, and the women who rule her people on the mountainous southern continent, Dahlia realizes her masters bought more than a tiny Branded bodyguard—they bought her hope for the future.

When the two women’s magic reacts and Dahlia is accused of murdering a Pure noble, she’s thrown in prison. Fearing for Dahlia’s safety, Astara sets out on a rescue mission to save her. But within the prison walls, Dahlia encounters Kaine, who seeks to use her enhanced magical powers to exterminate the city’s Pures. Caught amidst an underground war to free the Branded, Astara must save Dahlia before she reluctantly joins Kaine to gain her freedom, or worse—she’s executed for her crimes.

Quick 60-word Pitch

In a city where magic is forced on slaves as a means of control, two women’s powerful connection to their magic attracts the attention of secret factions that seek to free all the city’s slaves: one through political subversion and clandestine operations, and the other by exterminating the masters.

First 250 Words:

Astara’s first instinct was to buckle, to let her weak knees collapse and her body slap against the stone bricks under her feet—to let the Ministers of the Arcane Order lop off her head for her disobedience. But instead, she shuffled forward, one bare foot after the other, and lumbered after the procession of dirt-covered, skeletal captives.

A mocking sliver of dawn yawned over the city’s roofs and drenched her pale, soiled skin a hazy shade of rose. She squinted and gritted her teeth, momentarily blinded by the bright light. Her sharp finger nails, dirt like black crescent moons jammed under their length, bit into her palms when she clenched her fists.

The sun might greet her this morning, but she did not expect to see it set.

Two Ministers of the Arcane Order, floor-length robes brushing the ground and telltale silver masks cloaking their features, marched her and the line of captives into the center of the square. Astara shifted her eyes to glance up at one, to stare at the strange, otherworldly foreigners that covered their entire bodies in leather or cloth. But she dare not twist her head. She’d learned already that any sign that the fight or flight had not already been beaten out of her would be met in more pain. The deep, crusted lashes on her back were evidence, and of the dozen or so captives, Astara’s were the only ankles encased in thick iron shackles.


4 thoughts on “About THE CITY OF GOLD AND FIRE

  1. Intriguing world.

    If I may offer some unsolicited advice on your query’s hook: Lead with paragraph #2 (“Astara, a hunter…”) which immediately tells us whom the story is about, then kill paragraph #1 and pepper its contents so they show throughout the rest.

    A word of warning: I’m only a fellow writer in construction and comrade in arms about to start the querying journey himself.

    Safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, thanks for commenting. We take unsolicited advice and appreciate the feedback. Best of luck with your queries as well. It’s pretty awful, haha. We have another pitch we’ve been using, a short paragraph. We find the challenge to be with having the two characters—two main protagonists. Ever seen a good pitch with two protagonists?


      1. Your referral of yourselves in plural is a little chilling. A pseudonym for two writers, I get it, but it’s oddly satisfying.

        The query isn’t bad! It’s harder when the manuscript doesn’t center around a single protagonist. My manuscript bears the same challenge (or opportunity!).

        Janet Reid’s QueryShark blog, where she tears apart queries to teach, is – by far – the most useful resource I discovered.

        I dabbled with George R. R. Martin’s GoT query to aid me on the accursed quest:

        “Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

        Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.”

        George doesn’t mention a single protagonist name (unless you count the Starks), yet he is able to communicate the many characters’ conflicts, the stakes and all while showing his world and creating intrigue.

        I’ll have what he’s having?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, me too! I’ve seen GRRM’s query before. And I have gone onto the QueryShark blog. Janet Reid is a hoot, though it seems like she’s been less active lately, which is unfortunate. There are so many things to think about when writing these things. We did try out one that was less character oriented too. Now you’ve got me thinking again. It’s funny though, because GRRM’s doesn’t follow the “formula” at all. In fact it doesn’t follow the Shark’s feedback most of the time either. But when you’re good, you’re good, right?

    “Your referral of yourselves in plural is a little chilling. A pseudonym for two writers, I get it, but it’s oddly satisfying.”

    ^I’m not sure if you mean this is as a positive or negative. Chilling I think of as like…a bit terrifying LOL but then you say “oddly satisfying”…Just curious! 🙂


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