Archive for November, 2011

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:  Stage 11 by Clarita

The magician swooped across the stage, his cape billowing behind him.  His dark eyes scanned the crowd.  Locks of raven colored hair swept across his forehead as he focused on me and Natasha.  Why did he seem so familiar to me?

“For my next trick, I need a volunteer from the crowd.”  His melodic voice danced over my skin, causing goose bumps.

Natasha flipped her long, chestnut hair over her shoulder and smiled at me.  “Come on, Claire raise your hand.  He’s so, freaking hot!”

I clenched tight to the edge of the table, my stomach churning.  My blood felt as if it were on fire.  The way he’d watched us all night made me dizzy.  The Great Kalif, magician and illusionist.  He couldn’t be much older than me at seventeen.  If only I could remember where I’d seen him before.

“Claire.”  Natasha jerked on my arm.  “Either you volunteer or I will.”

My gaze narrowed.  “No.  I’m not going up there. You know I hate crowds.”

Her crimson lips turned up into a wicked smile.  “Then don’t be pissed when I snag him.”

My hands fisted at my side.  Why am I so jealous?

“Come on, there must be one brave soul.”  Kalif sauntered to the edge of the stage, his eyes once more on our table.

I squirmed under his scrutiny and ducked my head, right as Natasha jumped to her feet and said, “I’ll do it.”

He grinned, then held out his hand as she pushed her way to the front of the stage.  Once there, he helped her up the stairs and to a black chair. 

Already, wisps of fog rolled across the room, while strobes pulsed with a rainbow of color.

“What is your name?” Kalif asked in a thick accent.


“Natasha, that’s lovely.”  He pressed her down onto the chair, then turned back to the crowd.  “Now, if you’ll focus up here.  You’ll witness the most horrific of illusions.  But I assure you, it is all in your head. Or is it?”

I swallowed hard.  Something wasn’t right.  The idle chatter faded as people in the room faced forward. Eerie music tinkled through the loud speakers and everyone around me sat straighter, eyes focused intently on the stage.

“Yes, that’s it.  Watch the show.”  Kalif’s white teeth beamed against his tanned skin.  He raised a hand and ran it along Natasha’s shoulder.  “Relax.  You won’t feel a thing.”

A content smile formed on her lips.  Then came the glint of a blade.  His arms moved quicker, bringing the knife across her skin several times.  Blood sprayed across the floor.  Tattered fabric from her shirt littered the stage like confetti.  Natasha screamed, but no one moved.

Oh God, this was real.  Frightened, I leapt to my feet.  “Stop!”

Just then something warm spattered my face.  I raised a shaking hand.  My fingers trembled as I stared at the crimson liquid. No.  This wasn’t happening.

I stumbled backward, covering my ears against the shrieks.  Why was everyone so still?

A breeze swirled around me and I jerked back as a black wing blocked my vision.  “Please, let me go.”

“But I can’t.”  Kalif appeared in front of me.  Large ebony colored wings protruded from his back, his suit ripped away.  “I’ve come for you, my dear Claire.”

“I—I don’t understand.”  My heart pounded in my ears.

“I think you do.”  He ran his fingers through my long blonde hair.  “You and I are always at odds.  Dark vs Light.  But I’m tired of the games.  I want to be with you.  Why must you fight this?”

My throat thickened.  “Because I don’t want to die.”

“You don’t have to.  Your friend offered herself up freely in your place.”

My eyes widened.  “No.  You can’t have her.”

“Then give me something else.”

His skin was warm against mine as he traced my cheek.  How had I forgotten about him?  I’d spent centuries hiding from the Dark Prince, yet he’d found me, just like he always did.  Every century he descended upon me.  He’d utter sweet words, tempting me.  And each time I’d run away only to find death and madness. 

“Bring her back to life.”

“It will cost you.”  Kalif stepped back.

“You can have whatever you want.  Just please, save her.”

“Anything, I want?”


“No tricks this time?”

“I promise.”  No sooner had I said the words when I felt a strange burning beneath my skin.

“Then I chose you.  From this day forward, you are bound to me.”

He waved his hand and I watched the cuts on Natasha close. All traces of blood on the stage disappeared.  She gasped, staring around the room.  Her gaze met mine.

“Claire, what have you done?” she whispered.

“Saved you.”  I gave her a sad smile.

Kalif wrapped his arms around me, cocooning me in the folds of his wings.  Already, I felt the shadows embracing me.  White feathers fell from beneath my sweater as the light slipped away.

“I love you, Claire.  I always have.”  His lips captured mine.

For years, I’d fought against my yearnings.  But to no avail. I wanted to be good. I wanted to share my light. But it’d always been Kalif for me, even when the Council threatened to take my wings.  For too long, I’d let them rule me and decide my fate.  How many times had I been sacrificed in order to punish Kalif?  No more would I allow it. Today, I’d done one last good deed.  I’d saved Natasha.  And now, I was through fighting.

“I love you, too,” I said.  My arms encircled his neck.

“Nothing will keep us apart again.”

Thunder rumbled from above, but I’d made my choice.  I chose love.

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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Phew, I can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving (or at least it is tomorrow). I’ve got so many things to be thankful for. A loving/supportive family, my FAB crit group, my agent, so many blessings have made this year awesome.  We’ve also had some family crisis this year, but thanks to God we’ve managed to make it through them all—a little stronger at that.

Tomorrow we’ll be making a couple hour car trip down to my brother’s for Thanksgiving.  And keeping with tradition, we’ll have the game on. What game you ask? OMG, are you serious? LOL. Okay, so I’m a SUPER LIONS FAN.  I’m SO excited for the Lions game (squee). I’m hoping we give the Packers their first loss of the season! The family is already geared up for turkey and football (oh yeah)….yes, we’ll be eating and yelling and cheering (trying not to dump mashed potatoes all over the place).

Basically, I’ll get all dressed up in my Suh Jersey (classy, I know). LOL. But got to show the team spirit.

Usually we host Thanksgiving, so it’s kind of nice not to have to cook this year (we’re hosting Christmas instead).  I also have a couple of days off of work (the day job), so I’m hoping to put in some time with edits/applying crits on TLOM (I’m like a 3rd of the way through it).  Would like to have to Agent Lady by end of December.

And, I have to say I’m going through some withdrawals.  Um, yeah, have you NOT noticed the absence of The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle (ahhhh). I’m like a TV show addict. When I’m not watching, I’m wondering what everyone’s doing or what the heck is going to happen when the shows come back. I mean, come on Damon HAS to kiss Elena already.  And whoa, are Adam and Cassie going to EVER get a chance to have a romantic moment? What about Jake (who even though he’s bad is kinda good—hehehe)?

Well, peeps, I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!!!!!


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Okay, so I’ve spent the last 4 months working my tail off on my YA Fantasy/Horror.  Phew. This weekend, I finally typed the end (yay). Although, I found a few logic flaws I had to sit down and try and rethink, luckily my hubby let me bounce some things off of him.

Now, I’ll be going back through to edit, apply crits from my critique partners, and rewrite some sections where the plot needs to change based on some things I had come up in later chapters.  I’ll also be concentrating on adding some more details with the setting, and making sure to up the creep factor (woohoo). LOL.

I’m hoping to have everything cleaned up and off for betas in the next month or so.  Then, after that, it’ll be put in the hands of Agent Lady.  Since this story is darker, I’m hoping it does well on submission (ahhh).

This story was somewhat out of my comfort zone. The fantasy elements, I had no problem with, but the horror elements took more thought and even though I’m finished, I know I’ll need to add a few more of them in when I do edits.

But, I loved the challenge of writing something outside my norm, it really tested me. Luckily, my FAB crit partners kept me on track and honest.  I know a few of them received emails from me asking questions about several scenes or trying to make sure that everything I had planned was going to work out. 

But yeah, it’s nice to write “The End!”

Now, I’ll be working on edits, while waiting to hear back from my editor on TFGF.  So much stuff (LOL). Already trying to wrap my mind around my next project (another dark story–well, at least if I get the research done).


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This is insane. Seriously. I’m so humbled. I mean, OMG, is this happening? LOL. This has just been the coolest week ever. I’m so excited about the story itself (for The Fairy Godmother Files). And have been wanting to get this in the hand of readers.

I never dreamed that movie peeps would want to read it. So yeah, I still can’t believe it. I’m happy and excited. I know it’ll most likely not happen, but gosh, how AWESOME is to have the interest?

Little me. From small town, Michigan?

Thanks for letting me blather on…lots of prayers/finger crossings/voodoo chants or whatever you believe in! LOL.

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Phew! The past few days have been crazy. This entry will likely be kind of lengthy (LOL). Okay, I’ll try not to get too long winded.  Some of you may already know from reading Publisher’s Marketplace that Agent Lady (Denise Barone) sold my YA book The Fairy Godmother Files: Cinderella Complex to Astraea Press this week. Woohoo.

Yesterday we got a few really cool emails. Two were from film scouts (OMG–seriously–FREAKING OUT) and they wanted to know if they could see my MS as they’d read about the sale on PM and thought the logline sounded awesome.

Agent Lady forwarded it over.  Then we got emails from some foreign rights peeps asking about my book.  So we shot off more emails.

Lots of cool things.  I’m still astounded.  Even though the movie thing most likely won’t pan out, it’s still FLIPPING FABULOUS to even have them want to take a look.  And let me just say they’re both WELL known movie companies. 

So, about my journey. Denise signed me back in May.  We worked on cleaning up the Fairy Godmother Files for almost two months then went out on sub.

The rejections came in, but they weren’t bad rejections.  Every one of them loved the voice, the world building, the humor, the storyline etc.  The reason for rejecting? They wanted DARKER stories. Okay, so it wasn’t my writing, so that was cool and the rejections complimented the story (awesome). 

So we sent out to more publishers. Again, every editor came back saying they wanted DARKER stuff for their lists.  By now, it was getting disheartening. I mean, it wasn’t my writing and they loved the story, but the market’s geared toward the dark.  I mean, obviously this isn’t something I can change. If it’d been some writing thing, I could at least work on it.

This totally sucks when you write light, funny, sweet types of YA. So after almost five months of sending the story out, me and Agent Lady did some conversing back and forth.  We both wanted this story placed.  So we went back and forth over what our next step should be (Agent Lady is fabulous, by the way–can’t say enough good things about her).  She asked how I’d feel if we approached some smaller presses.  She knew, ultimately I had my heart set on the bigger houses, but with the market as crazy as it is, it just wasn’t happening.

So I had the choice of either setting the story aside until the market changes or I could try and place it with a smaller press.  To me, writing has always been about sharing my stories. I’ve NEVER been in it for the money.  I love to tell stories and I want people to read them.  I got back with Denise and told, yes, let’s hit these other publishers.

Then we got the offer from Astraea. They publish clean/sweeter YA so it would be a perfect fit. I tell you, at first I was kind of sad, but then, I remembered why I’m doing this. I LOVE WRITING.

Then after Denise announced our sale, the emails started pouring in (the film scouts/foreign rights peeps). And so even if things didn’t go exactly how I’d planned them, I’m very happy for the way things are turning out.  God works in mysterious ways.  Sometimes we ask for things (like book contracts with a big 6 publisher), but things happen for a reason.  Will a movie get made? Probably not, but hey, my story garnered the interest after months of publishers telling me “not dark enough”.  So, I’m totally cool with that. 

Everyone’s journey is different. I’ll always strive for the great and as long as I’m able to share my stories then I’ve already won!


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