Book Jacket


rank 1329
word count 20965
date submitted 13.05.2010
date updated 16.08.2012
genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Children's, Young...
classification: universal

Emmerick: The Battle Begins

Julie Kitchens

Adventure is what Salah has always wished for, when her wish comes true she finds herself thrust into a world where only the strong survive.


Salah longs to do more with her life than follow in her father’s footsteps and become leader of her village. Her training is about to begin when news of war comes to her peaceful village. As her people prepare for war, Salah begins having dreams of a voice that calls a warning to her. Just as she thinks her hopes of leaving her village for adventure are dashed, she is attacked by ogres and rescued by a very unusual dog. Her companion takes her to a place that turns her whole world up side down. There Salah discovers secrets about herself and her family. She also learns that her village is in danger of being destroyed and embarks on a quest for a mythical weapon that will save her people from a deadly enemy. With her own powers just beginning to surface, will Salah find the strength to stop the evil that is coming in time to save herself and her people?

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adventure, demons, fairies, friendships, gifts, hidden city, love, magic, sword, war, young adult

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Tod Schneider wrote 708 days ago

Greta story telling, with a well developed fantasy world and interesting characters.
Critique-wise, there are one or two things I'd suggest working on that I think would streamline the writing quite a bit. The big one (and I feel like I say this to half the writers I critique!) is over-attribution. You don't have to always spell out who said something. cut out the "he said" or "she said" and the story will flow better in many cases. In my opinion. Examples:
"I did not know that it was so plain to see." (cut: she said feeling slightly embarrassed that she was so easy to read)(you SHOWED us her response, and we could tell who was talking. Then you felt the need to TELL us not only who spoke but how she felt.)(Any time you can show and NOT tell, it kicks the story into a higher gear, putting us in the character's head instead of reporting to us about what she has in her head third hand).
"I know, father," (cut: sighed Salah) (This is one of my favorite things to pick on! First, no need to tell us who spoke, since we can tell easily enough. Second, it's my opinion that people don't sigh words, let alone sentences. They simply sigh. Period. And then they might speak. If it has to be there, use a period instead of a comma, so we know you're not saying she sighed the words. "I know, father." She sighed. "I just..."
" Sigard." (cut: her father said kindly, but firmly.)
"If (cut: her) mother were alive she would be there instead of me." (cut: she often thought)(put this in italics, and the reader will grasp that she's thinking this.)
"Hasan called out to the guard on duty to open the gate" is TELLING. "Guard! Open the gate," yelled Hasan " SHOWS the same thing, with more punch. It's not terrible to tell instead of show now and then, but it's always stronger if you SHOW instead of telling.
It's this talk of war that has everyone scared (cut: Salah thought amusedly)(put in italics)
(cut: Salah said excitedly)
This brings us to another thing I just love to pick on, which is ADVERBS. I got this from Stephen King, who advises writers to kill off most adverbs, and now they stand out like sore thumbs whenever I spot them. Here's his thinking on them: if the writing is doing it's job, the adverb just gets in the way, stating the obvious. Tod said judgmentally. You could already tell I was being judgmental, as well as who was speaking, so I don't need to tell you that. Which also would be just plain telling, when I've already shown you, the reader, that I was being judgmental. If there's a gleam in my eye, or I'm hopping up and down, or I'm pumping my fist, that SHOWS I'm excited, and I just gum up the works by adding "said excitedly".
I really hope this is useful. My writing improved a lot by applying these concepts, so I'm spreading the gospel.
You have no shortage of skills and imagination, and a good tale here -- I hope you do well with it.
Best of luck!

patio wrote 817 days ago

Fun packed adventure. great stuff

Su Dan wrote 1048 days ago

very good descriptive narrative moves this tale along nicely...original story, told with great pace and style...
backed with six stars...
read SEASONS...

a.morrison712 wrote 1049 days ago

I'm a visual person, and I hate to say it, but your font is distracting. I'd stick to something that is more standard than Comic Sans. Beyond that, your writing was good. I try not to comment on grammar, as I am not an expert on that. That being said, nothing really stuck out that made me wonder if the grammar was correct or not. I thought it flowed well, but like I said, for some reason the font kept distracting me. I'll come back for a closer reading again though. Best of luck with your work! Starred and on my unofficial WL (Authonomy doesn't give me a big enough one to fit all the authors I'd like onto it.)

'Maddy Hatfield and the Magic Locket'

Nightdream wrote 1067 days ago

Sorry for the late reply. I'm a little new to this site. It's kind of overwhelming. But from what I remember I liked it. What interest me was wanting to learn about the war. I remembered that your description should be cut down a little. I rather learn about Salah first. Then you can bring on the description. However, you don't have too much. I only read the first chapter because I decided no matter how much I like the beginning I was only going to read chapter by chapter with everyone who left me a message.
would you like to swap chapters?

Oh, and I would change your font to maybe ariel or times. I remembered it was kind of chunky lettering . . . if I remembered correctly. :/

Weaver Reads wrote 1145 days ago

Julie Kitchens -- Emmerick: The Batte Begins: This is as sweet story of adventure and, hopefully, love. I only read the first two chapters, but it seems a fun adventure. It was slow to start, but picks up the intensity of war plans further into it. It seems a mixture of and Indian tale mixed with fantasy elements. Very clever. I know my kids would love it. Well done! And keep it up!
~The Governess~

Intriguing Trails wrote 1186 days ago

Title suggestion: Sirus Speaks
Sirus is the dog star and the dog talks to her and she loves Mt Sirus... Just an idea.

Stuart & Victor wrote 1231 days ago

this reminds me of the Wolfbrother series, by Michel Paver... but in a good way! really like the earthy feel to the story and the writing is obviously well above average! I thought the first chapter was a bit dialogue heavy towards the end but other than that fine. well done, will back as soon as we have space! Stu

Stuart & Victor wrote 1231 days ago

this reminds me of the Wolfbrother series, by Michel Paver... but in a good way! really like the earthy feel to the story and the writing is obviously well above average! I thought the first chapter was a bit dialogue heavy towards the end but other than that fine. well done, will back as soon as we have space! Stu

kenny hill wrote 1253 days ago

Hi, loved it


A. L. Reynolds wrote 1266 days ago

This is nicely written, and held my attention. You're occasionally missing a comma, especially from speech, but essentially the rest is flawless! You build up a great atmosphere, and it's a genre that I love.


Illusion wrote 1301 days ago

Have you ever read Lireal by Garth Nix ? It is the 2nd book in his trilogy The Old Kingdom. Your pitch reminds me very much of this book which I thouroughly enjoyed. I would first like to recommend reading Sabriel (book 1) then progressing onto Lireal (book 2) then finally Abhorsen (book 3). Secondly your pitch caught my attention and I have placed it on my watchlist. I intend to read it within the next couple of days and I will report back to you with what I think.
In the meantime could you possibly take a look at my manuscript. Much appreciated.

Lesley-Ann (Ezeldren Spirit of Ezereth)

LL Su wrote 1309 days ago

Hi Julie,

I've added Emmerick: The Battle Begins to my watchlist and starred it based on your pitch. You have a great short pitch. Invites readers in, wondering what the dark secret is. Way to draw readers in with a strong female protagonist like Salah.

LL Su ~}¡{~ WONDERFLIES~}¡{~

Bocri wrote 1374 days ago

An irresistible, creatively powered fantasy with graphically descriptive passages. The reader can form a rapport with the main characters due to their realistic but sympathetic nature. The plot is strongly credible but not restricted and the prose is free flowing. BACKED. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run.

CarolinaAl wrote 1404 days ago

A captivating fantasy adventure. Striking descriptions. Sympathetic, distinctly drawn characters. Powerful ambiance. Stunning depiction of a unique world. Inventive use of language. Convincing plot. Impressive writing. Backed.

Sly80 wrote 1405 days ago

Salah, along with her father, carries a heavy weight on her young shoulders. She dreams of flying, but responsibility keeps her chained to the ground. Benen, a young spy, returns from the enemy village with news - preparations are underway for war. Given advanced warning, the village can increase its own preparations. The fact that the messenger is young and handsome is not missed by Salah. Seems that, unlike the rest of the village, Salah is fair-haired like her mother, who it seems came from somewhere else. In the future, Salah will be leader of the village, but for now, she is to be a message runner...

Some impressive writing marks out this children's fantasy, e.g. 'blue stone mined in their village that shone like the sky during the day', 'We are men of stone; they are only men of sand'. Danger looms, but perhaps an even greater danger than the village expects. Meanwhile, we wonder about the origins of Salah's mother, and the whispers that Salah hears from the mountain at the start of this extraordinary adventure ... backed.

Possible nits: 'The tip of the mountain ... clouds that hovered around the tip [hovered there]'. 'not a young women [woman]'. 'expect [except] for one side'. 'Her village has [had] never known'. 'and [she] was a great help to her father'. 'her mother having died when she was two ... Salah had been three when her mother had died'. 'especially the later [latter]'. 'she knew that her they wanted her'.

TMNAGARAJAN wrote 1406 days ago


Damn Good. Backed.

SRFire wrote 1419 days ago

This is intriguing and original. I would be happy to back it.
Saffire Drake and the Three Keys

Becca wrote 1426 days ago

Salah is an endearing character. The writing is excellent--nothing sacrificed by making this a YA story. You might want to look into your dialogue punctuation and capitalization to help polish this. The writing is good and the story si fantastic, but that will help give you the polish to make this look like it's been written by a season writer. You certainly have your story telling and characterization skills shining here.

Here is a link that might help:

Good luck! I hope this does well as it deserves too. I think your target audience will adore this tale.

The Forever Girl

Joanna Carter wrote 1428 days ago

Just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my sojourn into Salah's world. Backed with pleasure.
Fossil Farm

SChamblee wrote 1431 days ago

I enjoy your writing style. You've got an interesting idea here, and I do believe I'll read more. I'm putting it on my W/L.

The one thing that jumped out at me right away was in your pitch though - perhaps rethink giving so much away in your initial intro to the book. Let readers have something that will come as a complete surprise later on when they're reading the book. You've got a very good opportunity to have some interesting surprise twists, take advantage of it. :)


klouholmes wrote 1450 days ago

Hi Julie, Written well for the young reader and Salah rises to each challenge, accepting her messenger position. Her independence and her keeping her dreams to herself also point to an exciting plot. She’s a character to identify with while the writing has a folklore quality. Shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

Beval wrote 1452 days ago

A charming and entertaining narrative.

Laurence Howard wrote 1453 days ago

Excellent dialogue and characterisation keeps the readers attention until completely hooked by the charm and ease with which you unravel the story. The premise and your pitch separates this book from the others. I hope this is a huge success for you.
Laurence Winchester,
The Cross of Goa.

Eveleen wrote 1453 days ago

Backed with pleasure
(Turning a new leaf)

nsllee wrote 1454 days ago

Hi Julie

A few small things:

word missing: "finally seeing its lunch folded its wings neatly" - s/b "finally seeing its lunch, it folded its wings neatly"
"wistfully" (and many others) - generally avoid using adverbs in describing speech or thoughts - agents/editors will think it is "telling not showing"
"voices coming from the mountain" - nice, Tolkienesque
repetition: "always" 3 times in 2 sentences
typo: "not a young women" s/b "not a young woman"
tense: "her village has never known anything" - why the switch to the perfect tense, when you have been using the past historic up till now?
why would a village 100 miles away be wanting to make war with the largest village in the Middle Lands? Wouldn't the logistics militate against it? A town maybe or a principality (like the Italian principalities), but a village?
"Salah was overjoyed to hear the news" - telling not showing, also redundant, as we have already learnt that from her response to her father a few lines earlier
I think Benan should give the important news about the Balder attack first, instead of talking about his packing and his being chased. Otherwise it gives the impression that he does not have a good sense of priorities.

Overall, I liked this. You created a good sense of the village and I liked how you started quietly with the relationship between Salah and the mountain, before changing the focus to the here and now of the impending war. I like how you bring out the difference between men of stone and men of sand, giving us the mental framework within which the villagers see themselves too. You get a real sense of the society they live in. Backed.


Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1456 days ago

Dear Julie,
An engaging well written story for young readers. Your pitch draws the reader in. I think most children will like your book!

Elizabeth Wolfe

Here is your chance to get a double backing. My friend, homewriter, and I have similar taste in writing and trust each other's judgment. Back my book and leave it on your bookshelf. Then do the same for his, "The Harpist of Madrid." Once the backings register, he will give you a return backing guaranteed. Just let him know in an email that you've backed my book as well as his. You might have to be a bit patient as we're 6 time zones apart. But you'll have two backings guaranteed on your excellent book. Of course, comments are always welcome too!

name falied moderation wrote 1467 days ago

Dear Julie
Are you going to put more story up, as I need more of your charming characters......What a good book. I started reading this some time ago and now done. I commented and backed it a while ago, but cannot see the backing anywhere. So i am taking the time to back it again because I believe your book is WORTH IT

The Letter

Stephanie225 wrote 1476 days ago

I read chapter 5. It was a fun, cute story.
Some things that I noted:
"be the Ahura, where they were headed"…already knew that.
"thirty feet above the valley"…the way it was written made me seem like it was higher than 30 feet above the valley
"didn't even want to try and imagine what could be in there"…. why? Or couldn’t imagine what could be better.

A few expressions that I (personal opinion) thought could be phrased better, although I have no specific reason for disliking them, included:
"caught a few glimpses of the pictures carved on the doors."....the whole paragraph after that line
“to where she had to look away”
“row upon row of crops”
“was built slightly differently”
“this was very curious and she decided to ask Elfwin about it…”

carlashmore wrote 1484 days ago

I am a keen children's writer myself, and thoroughly enjoyed this work. Your central premise is very strong, Salah is a wonderful MC and there is an accessibility to your prose that is very difficult to write. There is also a lovely balance between description, action and dialogue which makes this an eminently engaging read. However, I do have one concern (and it may be a concern others have shared with you.) Please consider changing the setting of Middle Earth. Mr Tolkein will forever have copyright and I believe your title will put off publishers/agents. This would be a shame as they are missing a treat
The Time Hunters

hkraak wrote 1485 days ago

EMMERICK: You have a great start to this. Salah is a relatable and likeable character and you have set up intrigue with your plot. I would look at some tightening. The first thing that jumped out at me was how many times Mount Sirus is mentioned by name in the first few paragraphs. Also, "below" is used twice within a couple lines. I know these seem really nitpicky, but editing things like that will strengthen your writing. The line that starts, "Sigard is a village..." has a tense change and seemed out of place right there. Try to incorporate it into the narrative. I enjoyed what I read, and look forward to seeing where this goes.

Pearl Edda

DP Walker wrote 1493 days ago

Hi Julie
A great beginning with some lovely descriptive writing and some really good ideas. Salah come across as a really powerful and credible character. Strong stuff.
DP Walker
Five Dares

Jim Darcy wrote 1494 days ago

Well crafted story with an engaging MC in Salah. Like the idea of the dream city and this is working out well. Pace is smooth, dialogue convinces and yet there is a touch of menace too.
Jim Darcy
The Firelord's Crown

Andrew Burans wrote 1498 days ago

You set the tone perfectly for your book in the openning chapter and your well written dialogue keeps the pace of your story flowing nicely. Your work is character rich, I especially like how you build Salah, and your imaginative writing ensures that your fantasy will have a broad appeal with children. Backed.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

zan wrote 1503 days ago

Emmerick: The Battle for Middle Earth
Julie Kitchens

A city which only exists in dreams. I like this element of your plot tremendously. You have a splendid imagination and I was very happy to dip into this. Your target audience should find this accessible, and enjoyable. Salah is easy to warm to. The meeting of the councilmen with Salah observing was well handled, it kept my interest and attention, and your use of language was effective. (Tiny nit - your very first line, "Looming in the distant, Mount Sirus cast a dark shadow over the fertile valley below." Did you mean to write "Looming in the distance..." - ie, distance instead of distant?)
Enjoyed this so far and was happy to give it a spin on my shelf. Best wishes in finding a publisher Julie.

Barry Wenlock wrote 1506 days ago

Hi Julie, I think young people will really enjoy this. Your story has lots of twists and turns, interesting characters and a very well-drawn MC. I also enjoyed the first chapter (I'm not a youngster, unfortunately...or maybe not).
Backed with pleasure, for a very good start.


lynn clayton wrote 1506 days ago

Suspense, atmosphere and the use of simile, which I love.
Salah is an attractive character. All your characters reveal themselves well through your excellent dialogue and you scenery is vividly described.
Have I read of a place called Middle Earth before? Is it Tolkien? Fantasy fans will know. I don't know if it matters. Your writing is your own. Backed. Lynn

Famlavan wrote 1507 days ago

I like this!
Some books in this genre can (in my eyes) come across a little bit condescending I don’t get that feel from you book. I think you open up with great narrative description and create a great sense of longing in Salah.
Good characterisation makes this into a great story. – Good luck!

name falied moderation wrote 1511 days ago

Dear Julie well your book captivated me when I read your pitch and then I read on. You have obviously spent much time on this work as the flow is easy and it is well crafted. I am happy to back your book. BACKED
I would really appreciate it if you would read some of mine different genre but that is what is so good about this site. and if you feel PLEASE BACK IT

lisawb wrote 1514 days ago

An interesting storyline with a nice style of writing about it. Salah is likeable and you have brought imagination and creativity into the story. Watch out for repetition a little bit. This flows well and has potential.



A Knight wrote 1515 days ago

Interesting, engaging and a good read for the young adult genre. Watch out for repetition. Mount Sirus is mentioned three times in the first paragraph, which gets a bit tiresome. Beyond that, though, you've created something worth a good read.

Backed with pleasure.
Abi xxx

Burgio wrote 1515 days ago

This is an interesting story. There are so many books on this site about a young gal who suddenly discovers she has special powers, it’s hard to get excited about one more. If the site needs one more, tho, this one is it. Salah is a good main character; she’s likable because she yearns for adventure yet can’t leave her village. Your writing style carries the plot forward. I’m asking this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Andrew Burans wrote 1517 days ago

What you have posted so far is well written and your use of short paragraphs keeps the pace flowing nicely. Your excellent use of imagery coupled with your descriptive writing style ensures that your finely crafted story will have a broad appeal with the children's audience. Backed.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

Dean E Brown wrote 1521 days ago

I hope you upload the rest. Good reading.

soutexmex wrote 1521 days ago

Welcome aboard, Julia. I'll be your first comment. This website will improve your writing craft, if you allow it. I'm a bit of a pitch doctor, having read thousands of pitches in my time on this website, so I want to share my insight here with you. You have to think of your pitches as your sales tool to grab the casual reader's eyes. The short pitch TELLS instead of SHOWS. You want to end it with a question, make the drama/conflict evident. For the long pitch, break it down into smaller paragraphs so it reads faster. End it with one succinct question to pique your casual reader's interest. Perfecting your pitches is how you climb in ranking to gather more exposure and comments to better your novel. The writing is good so I am SHELVING you.

Though I have been a very active member for over a year and have the most commented book, I can still use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Every little bit helps. Cheers!

The Obergemau Key

SusieGulick wrote 1521 days ago

Dear Julie, I love your story - especially your talking dog - it reminds me of "Up" - hope you saw the movie - the dog was so cute, too - yours is also. :) Before I began to read your book, I was prepared by your pitch, which was very well done. :) Your story is good because you create interest by having short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, which makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm "backing" your book: When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved...authonomy. :) Please "back" my TWO memoir books, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" & my completed memoir unedited version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which tells at the end, my illness now & 6th abusive marriage." Thanks, Susie :)
p.s. Remember: Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs. :)

yasmin esack wrote 1522 days ago

Oh wow. Just so right for kids and very well written. Nice story and great descriptions

backed (previously)

lionel25 wrote 1525 days ago

Julie, your chapter one is a smooth read. My little niece would definitely like your work.

Happy to back this.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)