NAME: Kati Bartkowski and Heidi Lang
MENTOR: Elizabeth Briggs and Elizabeth Prats
TITLE: Mystic Cooking
GENRE: YA fantasy
WORD COUNT: 90,000 words
PITCH: 16-year-old Lailu just wants to open a restaurant specializing
in cooking mystical beasts, but after reneging on a loan shark, she’ll
need her handsome rival’s help to escape the stew she’s in.
Lailu scowled at the row of onions pinned to her far wall, her
calloused fingers idly flipping a large chef's knife end over end
before she turned to look at her remaining batch of onions. "Don't
worry," she told them quietly, "it will only hurt a second." As she
selected a sweet yellow one, the bell above her front door chimed.
Lailu whipped around, the onion toppling to the floor in her haste.
“Welcome to Mystic Cooking,” she began eagerly, straightening her
fluffy white chef’s hat. “Our special today is…” Her eyes flickered
to the man looming in her doorway. "Oh." Lailu’s heart plummeted back
to her toes. "It's you."
For all she was barely over five feet tall, Mr. Boss (call me
“Victor”) was not much taller, but his back was straight, and his cane
seemed more like a threatening prop than a tool. He looked like he
might be in his sixties or seventies, his long gray hair streaked
through with white and oiled back into a ponytail at the nape of his
neck. She'd heard the rumors, of course, that he was actually two
hundred and six, and that he bathed in the blood of young dragons
every month to slow his aging. Lailu wasn’t sure she bought that; she
knew how hard it was to kill a dragon.
Mr. Boss glanced at the line of onions pinned to the wall, then
turned, taking in the spotless and very empty dining room. “Busy, I