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Archive for December, 2010

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Heavy hooves sounded behind me, as I raced through the fog and brambles. Pain seared my muscles, my body tired from running. But I couldn’t stop. With a quick glance over my shoulder, I watched an elongated snout pierce the haze, red eyes glowed. Bony fingers reached for my cloak, but I pushed myself to go faster, dodging between two trees.

Inhuman, that’s what they were. And they were after me. Gasping for air, I hefted myself over the gate. Once on the ground again, I checked my purse to make sure the scroll was still there.

“Stay off the main road, Simone.” Mother had told me. “You must  make sure the king get’s this.” She’d given me the scroll, then sent me out into the foggy woodland. 

For over two weeks, our village had been surrounded by the fogs and what dwelled within. Each night they searched for something, killing villagers like pigs sent to slaughter. Father managed to keep me and my younger brother, Devlin hidden. But we were running out of supplies, and the stench of death overwhelmed Moonridge Hollow.

Every night was like the last. Piercing screams, fires, death—always death.

Leaves crackled beneath my footsteps, as I burst through the forest. I stared at the empty, wooden docks. There was no where to hide here. No trees to camouflage me, no bushes to crawl into. Just me and them.

Boards creaked beneath my feet as I raced for the river. Something jerked my cloak, tugging me to the ground. In an instant, I unsheathed my sword, ready to fight.

“Stay down,” a low voice, whispered in my ear.

I turned to see a pair of golden eyes staring back at me. The man covered me with his cloak, pressing me face first into the wooden planks of the dock. Icy air swept past, and I felt my skin prickle.

Shrieks filled the night, then all went quiet. We remained still for several moments, until at last the man stood and reached down to help me up.

“Thank you,” I said, my hand clenched around my sword. “They’ve been pursuing me for days.”

The man smiled. “And why pray tell are you traveling in the fog? Do you not know the dangers?”

I lowered my weapon, belting it back to my side. “I’m on my way to Goodblin to deliver a scroll to the king. Our village has been attacked.”

“Where do you hail from?” He frowned, jerking his hood down to reveal shoulder length dark hair, and chiseled features.

“Moonridge Hollow.”

“What is your name?”

“Simone Light Walker. Daughter of Mayor Light Walker,” I said.

A look of surprise flashed in his eyes. “I am Darrog.”

Darrog? Why did that name sound familiar?

“Good to meet you,” I said. “Well, I must be on my way. It is only a matter of time before the fog returns.”

“If you’ve no objections, I’d like to see you safely to Goodblin.” Darrog offered. His hand brushed mine as he reached to wipe debris from my cloak.

Chewing my bottom lip, I agreed. Two swords were better than one, and I had no idea what else I might face along the way.

****

By daylight, we managed to cross the river and reach the outskirts of Goodblin. It was strange, but the fog had dissipated. As if Darrog’s arrival had frightened it off.

The cobbled streets were empty, a heavy coating of dust layered the clay buildings and market stands. My blood hummed a warning in my ears, as my gaze shifted nervously. Where was everyone?

Darrog grabbed my hand, pulling me close as we stepped toward the large stone gates of Goodblin. Heat radiated from the rocks, like invisible flames trying to lick my skin.

But where his body touched mine, I only felt coolness.

As soon as we neared the door, the gates groaned open. “Welcome home, your highness,” one of the cloaked guards said, bowing to Darrog.

I gasped, and turned to stare at my rescuer. “Darrog?”

“Prince Darrog.” He grinned, keeping a tight grip on me.

It was then I noticed the twelve symbols etched in the stones beneath my feet. The twelve destructions. Each representing one of the twelve sons of the God of Destruction, himself.

“You—you’re one of his sons…” I took a step back, but Darrog drew me closer.

“I’m Darrog, Prince of Death. And I’ve been searching for you, Simone.”

I swallowed hard, legs trembling. “For me?”

“You’re to be my mate. It was written long ago. Your parents knew of this, but refused to hand you over.”

“Then it was you destroying my village?” I screeched.

He seemed taken aback. “I was only trying to claim what was rightfully mine. You.”

My heart thudded against my ribs as I remembered the scroll in my purse. With my free hand, I withdrew it. “Mother said I was to give this to the king. I assume she meant your father.”

Darrog smiled and gestured for me to follow him. Our footfalls echoed on the blackened stones. The whole palace looked as if it’d been set on fire, then frozen. Bones dangled from the turrets, while benches made of skeletons and skin adorned either side of the walkway.

My stomach churned as we stepped over the threshold into the castle. Torches glowed along the walls, illuminating gruesome paintings of war, famine, and destruction. At last, we came to a large throne room, where a man garbed in a long black cloak sat on a dais.

“Father, I have returned,” Darrog said. “And I’ve brought Simone Light Walker.”

“Then you’ve chosen to spare her life?” a loud voice echoed in the cavernous room.

“She is the one I sought. If her family has agreed to our union, than I shall call death home and not unleash it upon Moonridge Hollow again.”

“You have my blessing, son.”

“Let us see this scroll.” Darrog glanced at me, his golden eyes glowing eerily.

With shaking hands, I produced it for him. He was beautiful and frightening. Even if my parents disagreed, I knew I’d be his. If only to save my people.

He peeled back the wax seal and smiled. “Her parents have given their blessing.” Darrog dropped the scroll to the floor, then clutched me close to him. “At last, you shall be mine. No more waiting, or hunting to find you.”

He bent down, his lips brushed mine and I saw everything as it was. It was not fog that surrounded me on my journey, but a cloud of bones and dust. The welcoming trumpets of the Prince of Death, guiding his bride home.

 

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment. This will be our last Muse until after the holidays! But make sure you check back after the first of the year for more YAFF MUSE!

 

Rachel Marie Pratt

Miranda Buchanan

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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Okay so I figured today I’d tackle the subject of rejection! And for all you singles out there, I’m not talking about dating (LOL—sorry, maybe that can be a future post). This is for you writers.

Over the last couple of months we’ve talked a little bit about it in my crit group. As writers we all know about rejections on some level or another. Whether it’s on query letters or partial/full requests, we’ve all been there.

I like to look at rejections as one step in a long journey. They’re necessary to get us where we’re going. Sometimes we’re sending stuff before it’s ready, so it’s a flag that we need to buckle down harder. If we’re garnering the requests, then getting rejected, it means hey I’m on the right track, but there’s just a little something missing here. And other times, it can mean getting some feedback to help push us in the right direction.

The thing is, without rejection we wouldn’t necessarily be as appreciative of the journey itself. Because let’s face it, the harder we have to work for something, the more it means to us. As writers it’s tough to put ourselves out there, to feel the pain of rejection when someone passes on our work. But if we didn’t take that chance, then we’d never know. It is through the rejection phase that we really learn how to be good writers.

That being said, I don’t know too many of us who really “appreciate” the rejection (LOL). But if you’re wondering what to do with some of your rejection letters, I’ve compiled a list of wonderful uses (this is subject to how many you’ve stockpiled, so I can’t be held accountable if you’re not able to do some of these things—LOL).

10) Rejection letters make great kindling for fires

9) Rejection letters can be used to build a fort for your kids (although it might not be real stable unless you use duct tape wood to help hold it up).

8) Rejection letters make great paper airplanes, however I don’t recommend trying to make them out of the cardboard postcard rejections—they don’t fly as well.

7) Rejection letters are great for dabbing lipstick from your lips

6) Rejection letters also make great scrap paper! Just cut ‘em up and use them to jot down phone messages!

5) Rejection letters can be used in case you run out of toilet paper (although I wouldn’t recommend this too heavily due to paper cuts and all).

4) Rejection letters act as great coasters for your tables and furniture. No more messy glass rings on the wood!

3) Rejection letters also make great wrapping paper. Come on, what kid doesn’t want their birthday present wrapped in a “I’m sorry to say this isn’t right for me” rejection letter…

2) Rejection letters make excellent dart boards. You should try and see if you can land it in your own signature block—loads of fun!

1) And number 1. Use your rejections as keepsakes. No really. That way one day you can look back and say HA—Take that world I MADE it!!!!

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So last week I signed a book contract with Astraea Press! I’m really excited to finally start getting my stories out there. I have a copy of my cover in my sidebar for my story My Dad’s a Paranormal Investigator: Seeking Shapeshifters, which is due out February 2011. As I get more details, I’ll post them.

I do intend to keep pursuing getting an agent and traditional publishing, but I have a few stories that I absolutely LOVE, sitting around collecting dust. And rather than just use them as doorstops or foot stools, or building blocks for a manuscript fort on my desk, I decided to start querying/submitting to some e-publishing houses. This is giving me an opportunity to share my stories, which is what writing is all about for me. It’s about giving people (teens) an escape from everyday life. I’ve dreamt of being published for as long as I can remember and now it’s finally happening!

Just wanted to share my good news and say how pleased I am to have signed with Astraea!

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo Credit: lespowell at Morguefile.com

 

My mother slammed the can of coffee on the counter. “You almost cost me my job, Elena. Out of all the boys in the galaxy and you had to choose, Drycen Mackler, my boss’s son.”

“I said I was sorry.” My eyelids shut, as I took a deep breath to compose myself. Why couldn’t she understand, I was sick of hiding who I was. After a moment, my gaze focused on her.

“People with your kind of power are in high demand. You know how much they sell girls like you for?” Mom shook her finger at me. “I have enough problems supporting you and your sisters without having to deal with the prospect of losing my job. All it takes is for Drycen to get angry and blurt our secret.”

Faint light showed through the dingy window of our two room apartment. God, it wasn’t like I’d asked to have an infinity for fire. And I damn sure didn’t ask Mom to take me to work with her yesterday. I swallowed hard, remembering Drycen’s room. Mom wanted me to help clean the Mackler’s house so she could finish early and get home to make my sister Emily a birthday cake. I was assigned his quarters.

I’d been making his bed, when I heard the whoosh of his washing compartment open. Drycen stepped out, wrapped in a towel. His shaggy dark hair wet, his toned body solid and glistening. Everything happened so quickly. At first he’d seemed startled to find me in his room, then the next thing I knew he kissed me.  

That’s when I lost control of my power and set his curtains on fire. We got the flames put out and he promised not to tell anyone. This time he ran his fingers through my hair, kissing me more gently. Of course, his mother chose that moment to walk into his room. The rest, as they say, was history. His mom freaked about him being with the maid’s daughter, my mom freaked when she noticed the charred curtains. Luckily, Mom got a way with a warning and was told not to bring me to work again. Unfortunately for the both of them, I’d still see him tomorrow. 

Drycen and I went to the Air Academy together, where we both trained to be ship pilots. I was there on a full scholarship, while his parents paid the ridiculous tuition. Although, if anyone discovered my abilities, I’d likely be sent out to Centurion One, a space station where they kept and sold people like me to the highest bidder.

“Mom, can we just drop it?”

She scowled. “Good idea. Why don’t you watch your sisters while I run to the market to fetch more eggs.”

I watched as she slipped a laser into her side pocket, then punch in the code on the number pad to let herself out of the apartment.

When she was gone, my sister Talia plopped down on the couch and smiled. “So, I heard Drycen kissed you?”

My cheeks warmed. “Yeah.” At sixteen, it was about time something like this happened to me. But it wasn’t something I wanted to explain to my fourteen year old sister.

“Mom about shit herself.” She laughed. “I heard her on the intercom with someone right after you got home. She was mad.”

“I’m surprised she didn’t call Aunt Suzette on Mars, to see if they’d take me in,” I snorted. “If it wasn’t for my scholarship, I’d probably be on the first ship out.”

Talia patted my hand. “She’ll simmer down, give her a few days. Besides, if you landed Drycen, her financial worries would be over.”

If only. But right now, I had to concentrate on graduating the academy or I’d be stuck working as a maid, like Mom.

***

 “I need you to run an errand for me before school,” Mom said, handing me a large package. “You’ll want the last door on your left at the subway station.”

“What is it?”

“None of your business. Now go tell your sisters goodbye.” Mom ushered me to the lone bedroom where Talia was wiping back tears.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” She sniffled. “Just banged my ankle on the dresser.”

I grinned. Once I gave them each a hug, I left the apartment with the package in hand. I crossed the busy street, avoiding robots and humans alike as they moved toward the subway system. The scent of rocket-fuel hung heavy in the air, as ships buzzed by overhead. Transportation for the rich, while the rest of us suffered the subway.

My gaze faltered as I stared at the missing person posters that were plastered along the subway entrance. Most of them had likely been sold. With a shiver, I quickened my pace, fingering the knife in my pocket. Soon, I pushed through the crowds in the terminal, searching for the door my mother told me to find.

I went down a dark tunnel the air cold and damp. After a moment, I found the last door and gave a knock.  A hooded figure answered and behind him, I saw several people in shackles and cages. Oh God.

Before I could run, someone struck me over the head. Mom had betrayed me.

***

When I came too, I was chained and sitting on a podium beneath the subway. Lined up next to me were some of the others.

“The first magic-born up for bid, comes to us from the Academy. Elena Bartok is a pilot, and also has skills as a fire wielder. Our starting price for her is $50,000.00.” A man in a suit hollered.

Below, I watched the crowd begin to chatter. I saw a paddle go up in the back. Number 261. Then the man asked for more bids. Soon the price was up to $200,000. Oh God. These people were crazy. Fear engulfed me like a forest fire when the gavel came down.

“Sold to number 266. Please come around to the west bay to collect your prize.”

Someone jerked me up by the arms, and shoved me down a corridor. At first, I tried to get away, but the shackles kept me from running.

My cloaked buyer, handed the cash over to my captor, then took the key for my shackles.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked as I was led to a large ship on the outskirts of town.

But the man didn’t answer. Soon we loaded the ship, where my cuffs were finally taken off. The cloaked man turned to me and lowered his hood. Drycen.

“Sorry,” he said. “But it was the only way.”

“My mother sold me to you?”

“Actually, both our parents decided it was best if we left Earth. My mom couldn’t stand the idea of me being in love with her maid’s daughter—she has a reputation to uphold, or so she says.” Drycen ushered me to the cockpit. “I assured her my feelings wouldn’t change, so Dad suggested they buy me a ship and let me do what I want. But your mother wouldn’t let you go for free.”

“She has to support my sisters,” I said in her defense. “I’m sure your parents weren’t likely to keep her on after catching us.”

He nodded his agreement. “They said they’d agree to a payoff for her silence, but that no one was to know. Since they didn’t want anyone tracing the money back to them, they decided to use a middle man—the auctioneer.”

“So now what?” My gaze shifted to him as I sat in the co-pilot seat.

“Now, you’re mine. We no longer have to sneak around. Out here,” he gestured to the ship. “We’re equals.”

Tears welled in my eyes, as I clasped his hand. In one swift movement he gathered me in his arms, his lips branded mine.

Finally, I belonged.


Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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