Sparkles of Blue

Ray Zdan

Book Cover

GENRE

FANTASY MYSTERY YOUNG ADULT SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    PERSEVERANCE.

    TIME PERIOD

    Across Centuries,Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    GAME OF THRONES, LORD OF THE RINGS

    CHARACTER LIST

    KYLE: 27. LEAD. CLEVER, BUT UNSURE OF HIMSELF. A 'SLEEPER' WHO IS ABLE TO TRAVEL BETWEEN TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS WHILE ASLEEP.

    RHYS: 42. KYLE'S MENTOR AND FELLOW SLEEPER. EXPERT SWORDSMAN.

    JOHN: 46. FOE TURNED FRIEND. FELLOW SLEEPER. MARRIED TO KEELY.

    KEELY: 40S. KYLE'S SISTER AND PRINCESS OF PORTLOK.

    HEL: 40S. KYLE'S SISTER AND PRINCESS OF DEATH.

    KYAAL: 60S. PERVERTED PRIEST. ANTAGONIST.

    Logline

    A grey office rat becomes a prince in his dreams. He must learn to survive in the unknown kingdom and learn fast. But, things get tricky when the fantasy world begin intertwining with the real world. He finds the others living in the same cycle – some become friends, some – enemies.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    London, Fantasy world Rehen

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Ray Zdan

    Year Published: 2017

    Starting Description

    Kyle was attacked on a train, then the dreams started. His lonely, grey and orderly life within the autistic spectrum was smashed against the harsh reality of being a ruler of the small kingdom. While in London, he became a subject of a manhunt.

    Ending Description

    The book leaves Kyle stranded in the underground tunnels without food or water. His magic ring of power, exhausted and now served only as a dimming source of light. With the cave entrance collapsed, the only remaining way was down into the depths of the mountain.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    1999737709

    Mature Audience Themes

    Sexual Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: Kyle

    Age: 27

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Clumsy,Complex,Insecure,Naive,Secretive

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Rhys

    Age: 42

    Gender: Male

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Confident,Decisive,Faithful,Masculine,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: John

    Age: 46

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Confident,Criminal,Decisive,Leader,Masculine,Villainous,Sarcastic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Kyaal

    Age: 60

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Clumsy,Crazy,Greedy,Leader,Villainous,Religious,Power Hungry,Sarcastic,Secretive,Manipulative,Unapologetic

    Development Pitch

    The secret world of Sleepers broke my life like a powerful twister. I was a humble office rat, spending my grey days hiding in the crowd, doing my job as thousands of others without attracting attention. Then everything changed. The alien world sneaked into my dreams with the persistence of a scarab. I was puzzled at first, I was Prince there, but then the dreams turned into nightmares with dangerous creatures, wars and twisted plots plaguing the alien realm. My consciousness was bouncing between two worlds. I was forced to live two lives. It wasn’t easy. I thought I could cope with my dreams, but then hunters from the alien world began tracking me down the streets of London. I was on the verge of insanity. Until I found others living the same cycle. And none of us had the slightest chance to break free. Or so we thought.

    Genre

    ACTION, SUSPENSE, FANTASY, WAR

    Brief

    An average office worker discovers that he lives the life of a Prince in his dreams. When his two worlds intertwine, he works overtime to discover who is friend and who is foe.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The Book Profile does an excellent job of reflecting the book. One thing to note however, is that the Development Pitch should be rewritten in third person. Otherwise, great job with this!

    Draw of Story

    The story does a great job of hooking us right away. We get only a brief glimpse of Kyle's ordinary world before he's attacked and catapulted into the extraordinary dream world. But from that small glimpse of the ordinary world, we still glean that Kyle is both a relatable and approachable protagonist, which makes him easy to root for. Additionally, our first look at the extraordinary world is crisp and well-balanced which makes the overall story arc feel cohesive.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The scenes feel like they all follow a similar pattern, which makes things feel somewhat redundant and, at certain points, unnatural. It's possible that we don't need to see the mundane details of Kyle's life, especially as we get into the heart of the story. For instance, we see a lot of his pizza dinners in London and a lot of him watching television, which diminishes some of the tension that keeps us hooked. The scene button-ups mostly end with Kyle falling asleep in one of the worlds and transitioning to the other, and it'd be interesting to see some variety there as well. For instance, it might be difficult for Kyle to fall asleep at certain moments because of his stress levels. It might also be difficult for him to fall asleep post-kidnapping and it could be interesting to consider not giving him such unlimited access to these two worlds.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The story does a great job of balancing the ordinary with the extraordinary. Kyle's journey is compelling because parts of it remain relatable up until the very end. For instance, a large target market can understand what it means to be an 'office rat.' A large target market can also understand the desire for something more, and we're satiated with Chadrack and Kyle's role within that ecosystem. Still, the extraordinary world never outshines the ordinary world. In fact, things begin to feel cohesive when the two worlds unify, and this helps us stay engaged from start to finish.

    Fanbase Potential

    A story like this could appeal to those who enjoy fantasy adaptations, the sci-fi genre or fans of magical realism. The target market is large, and the speculative elements give it excellent crossover appeal. The story also likely has international appeal, given its settings, and could appeal to an audience regardless of gender, sexual identity or political beliefs.

    Awards Potential

    Projects like this are often overlooked by major above the line awards, but it's possible that there is some below the line potential here. Special effects are one area that could get some attention. A story like this would require careful execution, clever costuming, intricate sets and likely a great score as well.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    GAME OF THRONES, LORD OF THE RINGS

    What’s New About the Story

    The balance between ordinary and extraordinary is handled quite well, which elevates the story as a whole. The fact that it's written in first person makes it relatively unique as well. But it's possible that we don't get as deep into Kyle's head as we perhaps could. It'd be interesting to see a little bit more of his perspective, and his emotional journey as he takes on these two worlds. It could help his character, and the story, feel more well-rounded and complete.

    Lead Characters

    The fact that the story is written in first person allows for more of Kyle's perspective and this alone makes him stand out. But it'd be great if we went a little deeper into his psyche, to better gauge his emotions and justify his reactions and decisions along the way. But despite this, he is still largely relatable and approachable as a protagonist, which makes him compelling.

    Uniqueness of Story

    It feels like this project is on its way to being a rare gem, but there are some things that could be improved upon to really knock it out of the park. Going deeper into Kyle's psyche is a great place to start. Because the story is written in first person, it gives the audience a unique opportunity to get close to his brain. He has the ability to tell us how he's feeling and explain to us why he's doing certain things. As it’s written, he feels slightly surface level and a deep dive into his character could be beneficial. Additionally, it'd be great if there was a touch much more variety to the scenes. Less of the mundane details of Kyle's life and more on the tension building around him could make the story feel more cohesive, and natural.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Streaming TV Series: Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    The skeleton of the story is just about there. It has great bones and the concept itself is intriguing. That said, a deeper dive into Kyle's character feels like it's warranted here. It'd be great to see more emotion from him, especially as things start to heat up in both of his worlds. It'd be interesting to have a better sense of why he reacts the way he does, and why he makes the decisions that he does. For example, we know that he's comfortable being invisible, but we don't know why. Perhaps something happened to him earlier in life, or maybe there is something internal he has to deal with and his position in Chadrack helps him do it. Changing up the basic scene format could be beneficial as well. Instead of ending each scene with Kyle falling asleep, perhaps he has to work a little bit harder to transition between the worlds. It might add another layer of conflict that Kyle has to work to overcome, making both him and the overall story even more compelling.

    Tips for Improvement

    A touch more character development for Kyle is certainly something to consider, especially for a potential adaptation. Generally, it feels like going deeper into his psyche could make him even easier to latch onto, and thus easier to root for. Shaking things up in terms of the scene formatting could also help keep things fresh from start to finish, and help preserve the tension between Kyle's two worlds. All that to say that it feels like this is almost there. A few clever revisions and a deep dive may be just the thing to take this story over the top. Keep at it, and best of luck!

    Brief

    An average office worker discovers that he lives the life of a Prince in his dreams. When his two worlds intertwine, he works overtime to discover who is friend and who is foe.

    What We Liked

    One of the biggest draws is that the project has continuity. There are many unanswered questions at the end of the manuscript that could potentially hook an audience into a series. The fantasy elements also provide nice crossover appeal between the adult and young adult markets. While there are some mature themes, the majority of the source material is light enough to appeal to a wide target market.

    Film: The source material has franchise potential, which is a major draw. It also has crossover appeal, which could help it appeal to a wide target market. There are multiple storylines to unravel, and while it could be tough to see them all reach fruition, there is enough here to warrant further consideration.

    TV: The source material is continuous, which could make it a great fit for television. There are multiple, converging storylines which keep things compelling from start to finish, and many unanswered questions that could serve as a hook. Crossover appeal could help this reach a large target market, and the magical realism could help sustain a series for several seasons.

    Key points:
    Crossover appeal.
    International appeal.
    Franchise potential.
    Diverse cast.
    Multiple storylines.

    Synopsis

    KYLE (20s) rides home on a train. An elderly NATIVE AMERICAN MAN approaches and squeezes Kyle’s shoulder. Kyle goes about the rest of his evening, until he notices blood stains where the man’s hands had been. After pacing around his apartment for hours, Kyle finally falls asleep. He awakens in a forest and at a crossroads, finds a large dog, BYSH. Kyle begins to follow the dog and they reach a gate. A GUARD welcomes Kyle, the Prince of Chadrack, back. The dog leads him to the kitchens, where a KITCHEN BOY feeds them. Kyle asks for the remainder of his food in his chambers, and the boy leads him there. Once alone, Kyle looks around for clues about his identity. Soon, he drifts off to sleep.

    Kyle wakes up in his London flat, and prepares for work. On the train platform, an ELDERLY LADY stares at him, and he finds it unnerving. At the office, JULIE invites him to a colleague’s retirement party. Kyle reveals that he believes he has Asperger’s and needs more time to mentally prepare for socializing. Julie tries to persuade him anyway, but BIG BERTHA appears and asks Kyle to escort her to the train home. She thanks him for saving her from the retirement party, and they travel home under Kyle’s tiny umbrella.

    That night, Kyle wakes up in his chambers. He is informed that his horse is saddled for hunting. He tells his butlers that he likely has food poisoning. A priest, KYAAL, appears to ask if he could handle the poisoner on Kyle’s behalf. Kyle nods. Kyle tells the guards that he wishes to go for a walk. Back in the forest, Bysh leads him to the river, and he climbs up the long staircase. Bysh runs ahead of him, and Kyle hears a struggle. Through a thicket, Kyle watches as Bysh wrestles a bear. Against all odds, Bysh murders the bear and Kyle watches as the bear’s soul leaves his body and travels with the wind. Bysh and Kyle continue to the place where Kyle first remembers waking up. He searches the grounds for a clue and finds a sapphire ring. He returns to the castle and falls asleep.

    Kyle wakes up in Chadrack again and discovers that the kitchen boy has been executed for poisoning him. Kyaal preaches to a crowd of onlookers, as the boy’s head sits on a spike. Kyle tells his butlers to remove it, and to ensure that the boy has a proper burial. The staff asks about his well-being and Kyle tells him that he needs a man to help him regain his strength.

    Kyle tries to stay awake through the night to avoid going back to Chadrack. Around midnight, he gets the sensation that he’s being watched. A wound appears on his arm out of nowhere, and blood erupts. The next afternoon, he falls asleep, hoping that his plan broke the dream cycle. He wakes up and discovers that a healer let out some of his blood, after he couldn’t be awakened the day before. He learns that two hunters from his sister, KEELY’S, nearby village were detained and is asked whether to execute them. Kyle demands that the hunters be freed and escorted back to the border. Before falling asleep, Kyle uses his dagger to cut the tip of his finger in hopes of discovering whether his two bodies are connected.

    Kyle wakes up in London, to find the same small incision. At the train station, he sees the elderly man. He hurries to track him down, but the man is swept away into a passing crowd.

    In Chadrack, Kyle meets RHYS, his trainer. He puts off training and goes to the Great Temple to confront Kyaal about the execution. He discovers that Kyaal finds lost souls within the city and brings them into the temple to work as mediums. The most useless of them, usually children, are pronounced Silents and have psalms etched permanently into their bodies. Kyle meets one of the Silents, MILO, and escorts him from the temple. Milo shows him the way back to the castle. They stop at the Grave of the Silent, where dead mediums are dumped. Kyle is appalled. He provides Milo with dinner at the castle and learns that Kyaal rapes the mediums as part of their ‘training.’ Kyle arranges for Milo to show his men the way to the grave, to arrange a proper funeral.

    In London, Kyle oversleeps. He receives a call from Julie to learn that his boss, MRS. PATEL, is looking for him. Kyle hurries into the office and discovers that Mrs. Patel was called away on urgent business. Julie drops a stack of files on his desk. Kyle treats her to a cup of coffee, and Julie reveals that she believes Asperger’s to be contagious. Embarrassed, Julie excuses herself and Kyle wonders if his colleagues will joke about him. He returns home and falls asleep.

    In Chadrack, Rhys begins training Kyle. Kyle is surprised to discover that he is an expert swordsman. Beneath Kyle’s balcony, a dead beast lay. The townsfolk believe it to be a bad omen. He gets word that Milo is back at the Temple and hurries off with some of his armed men. He finds Milo strapped to a table, and Kyaal carving psalms into his back. Kyle demands that Milo is released, and Kyaal refuses. Eventually, Kyle secures Milo and takes him back to the castle.

    Mrs. Patel questions Kyle about his tardiness. In Chadrack, Rhys reveals that the beast had an unborn baby. The beasts are a hybrid, called Gryphons, and Kyle asks Rhys to care for the baby. Bysh takes the baby under his wing. In his chambers, he asks the butler to light the hearth and learns that he has previously forbidden it from ever being lit. Kyle investigates the hearth and vows to find out what is behind it.

    On his way home from work, Kyle is pursued by a RED-HEADED MAN. He is kidnapped and thrown into the back of a car. An ASIAN MAN takes a knife to his forehead and slices to the bone. They leave Kyle alone and bound. He cries until he can cry no longer and falls asleep. Chadrack’s healer heals Kyle’s forehead wound, and he is approached by MELVYN. Melvyn reveals that he has followed the Lord’s order, and raped and murdered nearby Mordak’s princess, solidifying an upcoming war. Kyle arranges to speak with his army’s leader, BEDWYR, about Chadrack’s defenses and struggles to decipher which of his worlds is the real one.

    Kyle’s kidnappers set him loose, and he calls for help. A POLICEWOMAN arrives and takes a report. Kyle struggles to go about the rest of his day and wonders how he can ever resume a normal life. In Chadrack, Rhys makes plans to move the baby gryphon to a courtyard. Kyle visits Milo, who is recovering slowly, and learns that Kyaal charged him with robbery and sentenced him back to the temple. Kyle demands that a guard watch over Milo around the clock. He and several men prepare to visit the army camp. Along the way, two scouts discover Melvyn’s body, nailed to a wooden cross. ‘Traitor’ is etched into his skin.

    Kyle sees the red-headed man on the bus, and panics. On the tube, he sees the Asian man, who reveals that Kyle was mistaken for somebody else. In Chadrack, the war begins. A girl, NEVE, is captured in the woods. She tells Kyle that she is from the Chadrack island of Ikent, which has been overtaken by ghouls, beings who exist on flesh. He hires the girl to look after his horse. Kyle and Bedwyr make plans to avenge Ikent and annihilate the enemy.

    Julie calls Kyle to warn him that Mrs. Patel is coming to check on him. Mrs. Patel asks for details about the kidnapping and inspects his injuries. She allows him to take additional time off to recover. Kyle watches her leave from the window, and sees the Asian man open the car door for her.

    Kyle awakens in his tent, and Bedwyr shouts out orders. The army moves closer to Ikent, and Kyle is petrified. The army tries to light a fire to use as a signal, and the ghouls see the smoke. They approach the camp and Chadrack’s army greets them on the battlefield. The battle is quick and Chadrack is victorious. Neve is watching the river from a cliff and spots several dozen ghoul ships approaching the harbor. They fight a second, much more violent, battle. Neve tells Kyle that she wishes to return to Ikent to die, to be reunited with her mother. Kyle insists that she stay alive. The battle goes on until Chadrack is victorious.

    Kyle finds the Native American man and demands answers. He learns that he is a Sleeper who exists in both worlds. Kyle realizes that he must find a way to survive. He decides to enroll in martial arts lessons.

    Post-battle, Kyle and his army return to the castle. His sister, KEELY, from nearby Portlok arrives with a rare, beautiful girl for Kyle. Keely reveals that Kyle is the rightful heir to the entire realm and offers to align with Chadrack if he chooses to stake a claim to the throne. She also reveals that Nightcrawlers are on the verge of attacking the realm. Kyle hesitates and Keely asks him to accompany her to the Well of Power. Keely uses her ruby ring to part the waterfall and descend into the mountain. Kyle follows and realizes the significance of the ring he found in the forest. He rushes home to find it and discovers it in his vest pocket. Kyle wears his ring and tries to unearth whatever lies in the chimney. Nothing happens. He travels to the Well of Power and becomes trapped inside. HAWA, a spider and keeper of the well, leads him to the well to recharge his ring. He asks Hawa for information about his family. Kyle follows the energy from his ring through the forest and it leads him to a shortcut to his hearth.

    In London, Kyle receives a package with a dead, human hand inside. On the hand is a replica of his ring, but with a diamond in instead of his sapphire or Keely’s ruby. In Chadrack, Kyle brings dead rabbits to Hawa and asks about the owner of the diamond ring. He learns that it is the ring of the King, who drowned in the well and whose body was never recovered. In his chambers, a fleet of crows flies in through the window and tries to attack Kyle and Bysh. Kyle uses the power from his ring to set them all on fire. He calls for Bedwyr and instructs that Chadrack’s defenses be put into place, so the army will be ready for whomever sent the crows.

    In London, Kyle arrives for his martial arts lesson. His instructor has the exact same scarring as Rhys and Kyle learns that Rhys is also a Sleeper. Together, they ponder about kidnapping the redheaded man and interrogating him.

    In Chadrack, a wounded MESSENGER arrives to tell Kyle that his sister, PRINCESS HEL, is approaching for a battle. Kyle returns to Hawa and learns that Hel’s ring is the Ring of Death. His is the Ring of Destiny, which his power helps to control. Kyle visits the wounded messenger and uses the power of his ring to change the messenger’s destiny. He finds Rhys and they make plans to rent a house and a car to hold the kidnapper. Kyle rents a car and sees the kidnapper walking down the street. He follows him to his house and notes the address. Rhys rents a house deep in the woods.

    Kyle asks Bedwyr to move all the residents of Chadrack out of the city. He stays behind with Rhys, and they make plans to return to London and interrogate the kidnapper. Kyle asks Neve to stay behind and take care of the animals, and he accompanies Rhys to the Well of Power and they both fall asleep.

    Rhys trails the kidnapper and lures him into Kyle’s car. They travel to the rental house and pepper him with questions. They scratch superficial wounds into his chest to communicate with the other world and learn that Keely is the one who ordered the mistaken kidnapping. The redheaded man reveals himself as JOHN, Keely’s wife. Kyle and Rhys let him go, and he relays Chadrack’s situation to Keely. They exchange phone numbers, so Keely can help defend Chadrack.

    Thousands of crows descend upon the castle, but they do not harm Kyle. Kyle decides to set off and seal with Well, before leaving to join his people. He is just about to do so when Hel appears. Kyle tries to decide whether to trust her. In London, Kyle discovers that he can no longer taste. He tries to call Rhys several times, but without success.

    Kyle uses his ring to bring down an avalanche and direct Hel away from Chadrack. He is surprised when it frightens her, and she begins to cry. In London, Kyle searches for Rhys at his house. The house has been ransacked and Rhys is nowhere to be found.

    Hel denies having sent the crows, and wonders if there is a new danger. Kyle and John return to Rhys’s to find it sealed off. The police have found blood in the basement, and John is certain that Rhys is dead. Hel and Kyle are dining in the forest when hordes of ghouls appear. Hel sends Kyle into hiding and he uses the last remaining power of his ring to enter a series of caves. He begins crying when he realizes that without the powers of his ring, he will not be able to find a way out. He hears water running and follows the sound, until he can no longer go on. Accepting his fate, he falls asleep.

    About The Author

    Ray Zdan is the author of the self-published Sleeper Chronicles, a series of fantasy novels that take readers on an epic journey between the dream world and reality. The books include Sparkles of Blue (Sept. 2017) Fourteen Days (Aug. 2018), Master of Banshee (June 2019), and A Strange Man Named Will (Nov. 2020).