Saturday, September 22, 2012

Semana Farroupilha

Hi guys,

How are you? I hope all is well. I'm sorry I haven't blogged lately -- I really wish I had the time to tell you all about our life in Brazil, but the truth is. . . there's not a lot going on at the moment.

The most interesting thing that happened recently was Semana Farroupilha (Farroupilha Week), which is sort of like gaucho pride week here in Rio Grande do Sul. I'm not entirely sure that's what they do every year, but I think many caravans from different towns come to Porto Alegre around Independence Day, and they camp here to celebrate their origins and culture.

On Thursday, Michael and I went to a parade, and saw men and women dressed in traditional clothes (they looked like they were wearing cowboy outfits and colonial dresses). They rode horses and played accordions. I'm afraid of horses (I have no idea why, but I guess phobias are mysterious like that), but I had fun watching them trot up and down the avenue. . . and, to my grief and surprise, up and down the sidewalks.

On the way home, we wanted shish kebabs, but we forgot to bring cash. There were no ATMs around, and we were sad. There's nothing like Porto Alegre's cheap, delicious shish kebabs. Since the camping site was on the way back, we decided to take a look at it. There were so many families barbecuing, we were on the verge of inviting ourselves to their parties. Fortunately, there was a restaurant with a good all-you-can-eat buffet deal (and, YAY, they accepted credit cards!), and that's where we ate more meat our stomachs could handle. It was a good day. At home, we took a 12-hour nap. Yeah, that's how much time we needed to recover from our feast.

If you're considering visiting Porto Alegre next year, I suggest you get here during Semana Farroupilha. This is a state very proud of its culture, and you normally get to see it here and there when you walk outside, but during Semana Farroupilha you really get to experience everything that makes Rio Grande do Sul what it is.

Friday, September 14, 2012

CURUPIRA (YA Fantasy)

Hi guys, I'm trying to improve this query, and I'd appreciate any help. Feel free to leave comments or to email me.

Thank you,
-- Becca

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NEW VERSION -- September 22, 2012

Dear Agent,

When Emma Newberry's best friend runs away, she's determined to go looking for him. She must find him. Preferably before the Curupira, a deadly creature from Brazilian folklore, kills him.

Sixteen-year-old Emma knows Eric Wolfson by heart. When she hears he's run away, she's not surprised. Eric's recent obsession with Brazil and his steady withdrawal from both the Internet and real life lead her to believe he's followed his nightmares to South America. Struggling to respect his decision, she's heartbroken she didn't get to confess her biggest secret: she's in love with him. Unsure of what she'll discover in Brazil, and only slightly confident she can uncover clues to his whereabouts, Emma boards a plane to Brazil -- a country of which she knows nothing about the culture or language.

Emma arrives in Saudade, a tiny town filled with loggers on the edge of the Atlantic forest, and learns from a circus performer known for getting lost in her own act that a foreigner with Eric's description walked into the woods and never came out. She claims that the legendary Curupira kidnapped him. Emma investigates the area and finds the initials E.W. carved on a tree trunk. She has no doubt these are his initials, but her efforts to get the woman to speak with the authorities fall short -- after all, who is really going to believe her fantastic story?

Emma feels that her friend is in the woods, but she doesn't believe in the legend of the Curupira... until she is face to face with an entity that has the body of a bizarrely built 10-year-old: hair of fire, body covered with decomposing leaves, pointed teeth, and strange, backwards feet. It threatens to destroy Saudade. Emma and her friends dive into the adventure of their life to fight the Curupira, otherwise not only Eric, but the rest of the town, will soon become prey to Brazil's most dreaded folkloric creature.

CURUPIRA, a YA Fantasy novel, is complete at 80,000 words.