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WRiTE CLUB - Skirmish #10

Before I get to the skirmish, first I'd like to toot my own horn and solicit some support...if you don't mind.  Misha Gericke over at My First Book  is hosting something called the Pay It Forward Awards, and yours truly has been nominated in the category of Unpublished Blogger With Awesome Writing Style. Although I'd love to have an agent call to offer representation and a book deal before tomorrow (deadline for voting) and therefore disqualifying me from the competition, but since I don't think that's going to happen this would be a close second. If you have a moment drop by Misha's blog and vote.  There are seven categories in all, and some dynamite bloggers who need your support.

Now back to the matter at hand.  This week I'm doing a skirmish today instead of Friday because I'm taking part in the BACK TO THE FUTURE blogfest on March 1.  :)

Continuing with the anonymous writing samples of contestants not lucky enough to be chosen for WRiTE CLUB 2012, despite the absence of prizes, or further advancement beyond this one bout, there is still plenty to be gained…and learned from all of you.

This week it's Ima Lil Ryder turn in the ring.  Here is their 497 word submission.

“All right, then, Jake … the girls and I are getting out of here. Slim says he wants to stay. Why that is, I sure don’t know. YOU should be lying down, taking it easy, after what happened last night. I just can’t watch this. You are driving my blood pressure through the roof!” Roz Billings heaved herself up into the old Ford Falcon bus, slammed the door and gunned the engine. Jake watched as she and the girls bounced down the lane in a cloud of red dirt, heading to the main road.

Jake Billings was digging a hole in the back yard of his cottage on the north shore of the Island. He was keeping time to the throbbing behind his eyes, trying to ignore his horribly queasy stomach and the stench of his sweat. He could not believe the magnitude of this hangover. His head felt as though any bit of healthy brain tissue had been replaced by grimy cotton wadding and what should have been a pulse delivering blood to all the structures housed in his cranium had become an internal kettle drum. It didn’t help that he was also diabetic. The previous night’s revelries had almost killed him, he knew Roz had stayed awake after the guests left to make sure he did not lapse into a coma. Roz was not a drinker and Jake still wondered how on earth she ended up marrying into his big, loud, alcoholic family—but he was grateful for her life-saving ministrations over the years. It was a pity she was so anxious all the time. She wasn’t wearing it too well, either. It was pretty damn alarming how that kind of thing could ruin a woman’s looks. Then he felt his upper lip flap against his gums where his dentures should have been, and his black mood darkened considerably.

The evening before had been filled with the promise of the best party of the summer. Jake had just bottled his last batch of malt beer and the brown frosty bottles were sitting in washtubs, packed in ice sent up from the docks. Roz spent the day working her magic with the blueberries the kids had picked. Two beautiful pies and a huge blueberry buckle sat on the oilskin tablecloth. Roz was cheerful, and Jake looked at her relaxed face and remembered the dark beauty she had been. Extending hospitality made her happy. In addition to the blueberry concoctions, Jake and the kids had gone clamming across the Island earlier in the day when the tide on the south side was at dead low. The steamers they brought back were now in the big, black speckled steaming pot on the stove, waiting for the heat. The furniture was out on the lawn, with the exception of a couple of benches and straight back chairs, so tired dancers could set a bit. They were ready for the guests to arrive.


And in the other corner, checking in with 495 words, is Captain Chicken Liver.

Lara clenched her hands in the thin blanket beneath her as the Potentate appeared behind the slave. She fought to suppress her emotions as he scanned each child with a smile on his handsome face. The tension, thick enough to suffocate, increased as the evil one’s steps echoed among the stones of the room. The Potentate searched each child as if looking for something specific, passing by the girls, but stopping to inspect each boy with interest. His gaze fell on her brother’s dark head and Lara’s gut clenched.

“How old are you, my son?”

Her brother swallowed. “Twelve.”

The Potentate’s eyes darkened in satisfaction. “Perfect.”

A keening sound filled the room as the mute moved to place the chains around her brother’s ankles and wrists. Lara realized it came from her as the Potentate’s gaze landed on her.

In a voice as warm as maple syrup on freshly made sweet cakes. “Your resemblance to my chosen one says that you must be siblings. Do not let my choice sadden you.” His eyes abandoned her to feast on the handsome face of her brother. “If he satisfies me, I’ll skip this room for the next, allowing those here a reprieve.” The dark one lifted an eyebrow at her brother. “You will satisfy me, will you not?”

She shook her head as her brother glanced at her. Her voice burst out in a ragged whisper. “No!”

Her brother, unblinking, nodded. “Remember who you are, sister.” He returned his gaze to the smiling Potentate. “If you’ll leave this room for last, I will do my best to satisfy you.”

The dark one’s smile stretched wider across his face as he turned and disappeared through the door. Lara longed to reach out and wrap herself around her brother, but he pinned her to her bed with a hard look. “Remember who you are. Let my sacrifice count for something. Never lose hope. Never.”

Lara nodded as silent tears dripped off her chin into her lap. The mute pulled her brother out of the room. Before the mute pulled the door closed, she locked her eyes with her brother’s, pulled her shoulders back, and lifted her chin. She formed the symbol of her house with her right hand, kissed it, and placed it over her heart. Her brother nodded as the mute closed the door, taking him forever from her sight.

Lara stared at the door without blinking until her eyes began to burn. Her brother’s words circled around in her head until she stood and moved to the door. The others glanced at each other as she used her fingernail to make a notch in the wood across the day’s mark. She turned to face the room, meeting each set of eyes that watched her, then once again walked from one end of the room to the other. Her brother’s sacrifice would not be a waste. She was Lady Lara Wann and a Wannn ever gave up. Never.

You know the drill. Got a second to help these writers out by telling them which one resonates with you the most? And Why? Leave your vote (and a brief critique if you have time) in the comments below.

See you back here at the ring again next week!


The Hits Just Keep On Coming

How about we start off the week by shining the spotlight on a couple of book releases by a pair of awesome blogging buddies?  I thought you'd feel that way. :)

First up is someone I consider a special friend, and that's not just because she's an LSU girl!  I've known Leigh Talbert Moore since my early blogging days and her two previous books (The Truth About Faking and Rouge) adorn the shelf above my head. Her third effort hit the shelves last week and that's what I want to clue you into today.
A companion to The Truth About Faking (not a sequel; the books can be read out of order), The Truth About Letting Go takes readers back to Shadow Falls, or more specifically Shadow Creek, with Ashley Lockett as she learns about friendship, love, and letting go.

Get me
The Premise: Ashley wants to smash everything in her once-perfect life. Charlotte wants to walk in Ashley's seemingly charmed shoes. Colt wants to turn Smalltown USA on its ear--with Ashley at his side. Jordan wants to follow his heart--but Ashley is the one sacrifice he never expected to make. Up until now, Ashley Lockett has followed the rules. She's always done the right thing, played it safe, gone to church. And then her ideal life is shattered when her dad dies suddenly. Now she's miserable and furious, and she decides to do everything opposite of how she lived before. She rejects safety, rules, faith, and then she meets Jordan. Jordan has big dreams, he's had a crush on Ashley for years, he's a great kisser... but he's also safe. Enter Colt. He is not safe, and he's more than willing to help Ashley follow her plans.

Get it today on Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes * Kobo

Add it on Goodreads.  

Excerpt: I feel Colt laugh, and he looks down into my face. That’s when he seems to realize what I’ve been acutely aware of for the last several minutes—our bodies are pressed together.  

“It’s awesome, yeah?” he says. “Adrenaline rush.”  
“Yeah,” I breathe. “I guess.”  

I’m not sure if he’s going to kiss me until he does. His mouth covers mine, and energy mixes with the alcohol flooding my body. Our tongues slide together, and I grip his shirt so I don’t collapse. 
Every single bit of this is wrong, and there’s no way I’m stopping it. It’s back, that good feeling. The sadness has been pushed out again, and in its place is this rush, this rush of adrenaline like Colt said. 

He pulls back and smiles at me. “We’re going to start dating. Now. You’re my partner in crime.”

About the Author:
Leigh Talbert Moore is a wife and mom by day, a writer by day, a reader by day, a former journalist and editor, a chocoholic, a caffeine addict, a lover of YA and new adult romance (really any great love story), a beach bum, and occasionally she sleeps.

The Truth About Faking is her debut young adult romance (on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo) -Rouge is her first New Adult romantic suspense novel (on Amazon).

Leigh loves hearing from readers; stop by and say hello! Blog * Facebook * Amazon Author page * Goodreads * Twitter * Tumblr

Next up is another blogging buddy -- Ciara Knight -- and although I've not known her as long, but I can already tell I'll be following her around for quite some time.  You see, there's an Neumarian Uprising, and we need your help!

Thanks to our spy, Ciara Knight, we are able to communicate with you today via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. The Neumarian uprising has begun. We are fighting for freedom and equality for all, but we need your help. Ciara informed us that you might want to know more about the uprising and why we ask you to risk your lives for our cause.

To answer these questions I’ve agreed to let Ciara tell Raeth’s, story about her captivity. It will be free for you on a site called Amazon until March 1, 2013. Our spies have told us this will help spread the word and find more recruits for our rebellion against the tyrannical queen. You can help by simply downloading a free copy of Weighted, a prequel to the Neumarian Chronicles. If you are intrigued and wish to follow our uprising, Escapement, book I of The Neumarian Chronicles, will be available for only $2.99 until March 1, 2013.  Escapement is told by Princess Semara. Don’t hold the fact Semara is a princess against her like I did, there is more to her than you can possibly imagine.

Here is a brief explanation of her telling of our uprising: Ten years after the great war of 2185 the queen’s reign is threatened by uprisings and fear. In celebration of my sixteenth birthday it is my duty as princess to sacrifice a slave to be initiated into the ruling council, solidifying my mother’s empire. When my own erratic powers surface I’m captured and tried for treason. Slaves hate me, my mother wants me executed, and my only chance of survival rests in the hands of a young man, Ryder Arteres, whose sister I sentenced to death.

What people are saying about Escapement:

“A heady mix of action adventure and steampunk -- leavened with a dash of romance -- ESCAPEMENT offers up its fair share of thrills, horrors and heart-pounding moments. A strong start to a captivating new series.” -- Jana Oliver, author of The Demon Trapper's Daughter 

“A riveting tale of justice, mercy, honor and love. Take a deep breath and hold on, because you'll be turning the pages of Escapement quickly. Three unlikely comrades, Princess Semara, Ryder, and his sister Raeth, embark on a journey that will alter their lives forever. The beautiful love story nestled into these action-packed scenes will make you sigh and remember why you love to love. After reading the prequel Weighted, I knew this story would be amazing, and it was. Ciara Knight truly has a gift for creating awesome worlds and characters you won't forget.” --Lindi Peterson--Award winning author of Summer's Song. 

“Betrayal, secrets, and a rebellion send readers on a grand adventure, caught in the plight to discover Semara’s gifts and purpose.” --Alex J Cavanaugh, author of Amazon best sellers CassaStar and CassaFire.

“The most unmissable series ever! I couldn't stop reading, the action and romance too breathtaking to break the spell!” --ARC review by Sudah on Goodreads 

"A courageous heart-stopping journey by young people to save their kind." --Hildie McQueen, bestselling author of Where the Four Winds Collide.

If you’d like to see a peak into our world, please view this short clip on You Tube.

If you are now ready to join our fight, please add Escapement to your TBR shelf on Goodreads here.  Shout out on all your social media sites, and tell everyone you know to stand up and fight. Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Free.

 Ciara Knight - Defy the Dark
YA Author
Visit her at: Blog
, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

WRiTE CLUB - Skirmish #9

A couple more weeks and I'll have taken care of all those writers who submitted an anonymous sample of their work to WRiTE CLUB 2012, but weren’t lucky enough to be chosen to compete. There are no prizes to be won, or further advancement beyond this one bout, but as all of the other contestants have discovered before them -- there is still plenty to be gained…and learned. I will post one of these skirmishes each week until I run out of contestants.

This week it's Delores Blackfield turn in the ring.  Here is their 461 word submission.

Her skirts felt wet. Probably muddy, though she couldn’t see, not even a hand in front of her face. A perfect night, Tukb’a had said. This darkness—no moon, no stars—felt organic, almost solid.

The men after her would be just as blind. But they had dogs.

The barks and high-pitched whines had stopped when she hit the upslope. Tukb’a’s map showed a narrow pass in the rock. In the black void she’d missed the landmarks, found it only by accident. The slope was too steep, Tukb’a said. The dogs might follow, but the men would circle around and the dogs would retreat with them. That would be her chance. Her only one.

Wind whipped her, briny and moist, at the top of the cliff where she crouched. She clenched toes on the sharp stones to stay upright. The crash of surf at the foot of the cliff roared its voice of freedom. The cave where she’d hide until the boat came must be very close. She had to find the edge, follow it to the cairn, count seven steps, then climb down, hugging the cliff face, until she felt the cave’s opening.

Perhaps the darkness was a blessing. She was terrified of heights. Better that she couldn’t see the void of rock and ocean as she climbed down. But she still had to find the edge, and in the darkness the fear of falling immobilized her.

Her ragged breath let air out too fast to satisfy her starved lungs. She forced herself to hold one, counted to five. The thunder of blood in her ears slowed and the night around her came alive. The wind through vegetation she couldn’t see, faint rustlings as invisible creatures rummaged in the underbrush. Nothing dangerous; rabbits and iguanas, her food—if she made it through the night. The only dangerous animals on the island were the dogs.

And the men.

Her arms and face stung from scratches. In this harsh landscape of rock and shrubs, everything had thorns. Her feet throbbed, one more than the other. She’d twisted the ankle, maybe sprained it. Even the lightest touch made her cringe. On the sole she felt sticky wetness.

A bark, far away. How far? Hard to tell, with the constant rush of wind. She had to get out of here, find the cave, disappear. The dogs would find her scent, but the men would think she’d fallen, smashed to pieces by the violence of the water.

Voices, closer. Move.

Agony shot up from the ankle. No matter. The beating, if they caught her, would leave her useless for days. With a tremor of vertigo, the slave pushed herself off the ground. At the edge of the cliff, one way or another, freedom waited.

And in the other corner, checking in with 493 words, is Justin Time.

You only get one parachute. There’s no point packing two for a BASE jump since you’ll be splattered pavement art before number two has time to say “Hello.”

Yeah, yeah, I lied and told my momsers there were two chutes; otherwise, she’d never have given me the thumbs up to be the youngest dude in Timmer’s BASE-jumping troupe. That lie flung me here to Hollywood and the Rampion Records Tower just in time to rock tonight’s jump, and then score a space in RR’s Summer Number One singing competition.

I tap Momsers’s number for like the millionth time and hold the cell in front of me, waiting for her voice to pour from the phone. She’s not big into remembering things, and I totally don’t want her to miss my “As Seen on TV” moment when I fly off the top of the Rampion Tower. This BASE jump will be so rad ass that she’ll forgive my lie and see that her baby Justin bird was meant to nest in Hollywood.

I get the usual nothing. Note to self, make sure Timmer zinged her my cut of our last jump fee so she can pay the cell bill.

A hunk of my bangs clogs the sweat stream flowing out of my hairline. What if Momsers watches and I eat it on the music bizzez most hallowed ground?

Sixteen is too freakin’ young to die when you have plans, like winning the Rampion Records Summer Number One.

T-shirt moment: Music Dreams Sucker Punch Death

This crazy-ass Rampion Tower is as sketch on the inside as it is on the outside. Some genius made this sculpture/building by piling up a massive stack of concrete discs that are supposed to look like vinyl records waiting their turn to drop onto an ancient turntable. The dude smacked them in the center of a plaza downwind of the Hollywood sign and called it architecture. I call it mad.

Walking in circles inside this cylinder totally messes with a guy’s internal GPS. Where are the dang elevators?

I trail one of my digits along a gold vein in the black marble wall, trying to tap the heart of greatness that pumps through this tower. Every ten steps a monitor that’s been sunk into the marble flashes Summer Number One winners from the past.

I flick the glass for luck on Gigabyte’s screen, my favorite band. I so dig those lads. Da-Da-Da Deacon points his chiseled chin at me from the next monitor. That dude was an amateur like me when he rocked first place, knocking every pro in the competition out of his way. There’s Mistress Mango with her spiked orange hair and twin, ruby red heart tats on her cheeks. Momsers used to blast Mango’s tunes 24/7 back at our crappy digs in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Yeah, yeah, this year my pipes will qualify for the Summer Number One. My amateur carcass is gonna snag first place.

You know the drill. Got a second to help these writers out by telling them which one resonates with you the most? And Why? Leave your vote (and a brief critique if you have time) in the comments below.

See you back here at the ring again next week!


She Said What Blogfest

Michelle Wallace over at Writer in Transit, and Elise Fallson are celebrating blogging anniversaries, and they've decided to join together to throw this awesome blogfest as a way to celebrate.

Here's all you have to do to participate:

On Monday the 18th of February, Michelle and Elise will post two comic strips with blank dialogue bubbles. (there now)

Copy and paste the two comic strips into your post.

Write the dialogue off to the side.

Post your entry on Wednesday the 20th of February and then check out some of the other entries to make fun of them.

Michelle and Elise will then pick some extra creative entries who will win prizes that will include books and other stuff. (;

Winners will be announced on Friday the 22nd of February.

So here's my entry -- 

Box #1 - "The winds picking up.  Get those tiny stick legs moving!"

Box #2 - "I think I'm going to vomit!"

Box #1 - "Oh honey...that grey thong doesn't look good on you."

Box #2 - "Really? Why don't we talk about that pigtail of yours that resembles a strand of DNA."

Box #1 - "Did somebody say THONG?!"

Box #1- "Friggin horny bastard!"

Box #1 - "I look like I've been in a wet t-shirt contest."

Box #2 - "We both looked that way before we hit the water."

Box #1 - "I'm here to simply serve as a surprise twist, and interest the fantasy readers.  Other than that, I serve no useful purpose."

Box #2 - "Hey SuperHero dude, you owe us a new ballon.  And if you pee in that pond I'm going to strangle you with my girlfriends thong!"

A Trick of Light

You've written a book. Maybe two. Worked up enough courage to let others besides the usual family, friends, and/or critique partners read your efforts, and that's when you realize something unexpected is happening. In addition to the feedback being overwhelmingly positive, these readers are telling you how much they absolutely love a certain aspect of the story, one that you felt was a minor sub-plot, an unconscious nuance or inner-theme that you layered in to add depth to the material. It's this particular story element that really speaks to the reader, drawing them in and selling them on your novel. And the remarkable part, it can be unique for different readers.

It's this level of reader diffusion and involvement that every author dreams of...and I call it a trick of light.

When you were a kid, did you ever play in a pond or stream full of fish, watching them glide through the water ever so gracefully? And maybe you were curious enough to try and reach in and grab one, only to come up empty because the fish isn't really where you thought it was? Scientist call that refraction. Rays of light are bent as they move from one medium (air) to another (water), creating an optical illusion that causes a person to see one thing, but reality proves to be slightly different. The fish in the water appears to be in one place, but it's actually somewhere else.

I contend that a writer's work can be subjected to this same phenomenon. We see the vision of our novel as one thing, but others are free to interpret it as something slightly different. I've read interviews of famous authors who talk about how their fans related to their work in a way that was sometimes a genuine surprise to them. For the most part this is a very positive experience and rewarding in so many ways, but there could be a down side as well. How many books have been banned from school libraries across the country all because of narrow-minded elucidation?

With every project I undertake, I'm determined to make it appealing to as broad an audience as I possibly can, while still serving my target genre. But what I really hope to do is achieve a trick of light...for my book to mean many things to many people. That doesn't mean it has to be literary fiction, either. Take Harry Potter for instance, J.K. Rowland has achieved that status.

A lofty goal...I know. But nobody said it would be easy. How about you...have you ever received feedback in that vein before?


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