Monday, January 14, 2013

Bouncer Post #9

Genre: young adult paranormal
Word Count: 78k words


Stolen shadow. Missing magick. Throw in freaking fate and it's a McMisery meal for seventeen-year-old witch, Greta Shore. Oh, and let’s not forget she's forcibly engaged to her ex-crush turned stalker, thanks to her traitor of a mother. This crap shouldn't happen in the twenty-first century.

At the engagement party, Greta does what she always does…runs away, straight for the protection of the woods. But before she reaches safety, the bloodcurdling screech of a witch's worst nightmare heralds the impending attack of  a shadow demon, desperate for her soul. Seconds from destruction, she's rescued, scooped into strong arms. His touch fills her mind with phantom memories of them together.  But who the heck is this boy?

Her rescuer, Paxton Craig (Pax), is a unicorn shifter with a dark secret. He's half shadow demon, but he can't tell Greta. How would she understand that he wants to protect and kill her? He's never felt this way about a witch before. Until now they'd all been assignments, a means to an end, a way to earn his rightful place with the Order of the Horn. All that changes the night he saves her.

As she remembers her past life with Pax their love grows, along with the risks. Greta discovers the only way to destroy the demon who lusts after her soul is to make a sacrifice… Kill Pax. But how can she end the life of the boy she loves?

RUNNING FROM SHADOWS won first place in the 2012 Reveal Your Inner Vixen contest (Maryland Romance Writers chapter of RWA), won second place in the 20th Annual Heart of the West 2012 contest (Utah chapter of RWA), won second place in the 2012 Launching A Star contest (Florida SpacecoasT chapter of RWA) and is a finalist in the 2012 Show Me the Spark contest (Heartland Romance Authors chapter of RWA). I am a PRO member of RWA, YARWA, FF&P and Backspace, as well as being active in my local RWA chapter, Chesapeake Romance Writers. My young adult paranormal romance, WITCH WAY TO TURN is published through Lyrical Press, and the book trailer was recently recommended by USA Today.

First 250:

The giant oaks of the Red Forest loomed above me. Unease prickled down my spine. Something else was in the woods. Lurking in the shadows. Watching me. I froze mid-step, ice in my veins. Peered into the darkness with my breath caught in my throat.

Haven slammed into my back. “Greta, seriously?”

A shiver rippled through me. The thing in the shadows had taken my attention so completely I’d forgotten my two best friends trailed behind me. What was that thing? Had I imagined it?

When I didn’t answer she stomped in front of me. “Don’t just stop like that.” Haven smoothed a loose strand of pink hair behind her ear. “Damn. Maybe I should take the lead.”

“Whatever.” I risked a quick glance over Haven’s shoulder toward the shadowy figure. Gone.

“What are you looking at?” She followed my gaze.

Jill joined us, her blond hair swaying over her shoulders as she bobbed her head up and down. The giddy smile on her face said she might start clapping at any second. “Ooh, I hope it’s something witchy and dangerous.”

Jill wasn’t even trying to hide her excitement. Of course, I couldn’t exactly blame her. She’d never done a spell with us before. Haven hadn’t ever asked her and I’d never been skilled enough to lead a circle. Until now.

I drew in a deep breath through my nose. The chill of it nearly gave me brain freeze. Was I crazy for needing to do this? For wanting answers?


  1. Just from the query, I feel like this is a romance that would break my heart! I would absolutely love to read this.

  2. I love romances where the male lead wants to protect and kill the girl at the same time! I would totally read this! Great job!

    Good luck!

  3. You have really done a great job nailing down your voice, especially for the query. A lot of times I see queries that read like movie-trailer announcers thundering out a narrative when it's so much more persuasive to have the MC's voice telling her own story. Even reading it in third-person perspective, I can hear Greta's voice dripping out of every word. Fantastic. That being said, I think you've crammed too much into the query. We don't need to know about unicorn shifters, because it's only mentioned once and doesn't really have anything to do with why Pax wants to protect or kill her. Also, I'm not 100% on board with hearing from Pax in the query. I'd rather be left wondering with Greta why this boy is so hot and cold, what secrets is he hiding, and why does he seem so familiar when she's never met him before.

    As for your first 250, I love that it starts in the middle of actual action. Stuff is happening. She's leading a circle for the first time. She sees something shadowy and mysterious. There's freaky stuff going down, people! But it does seem like she overreacts a little bit to the creepy stuff. She's a witch, so I'd assume that she's got some passing acquaintence with the shadowy side of things. If she has good reason to be jumping at every twig snap, I'd like to know more about it as the jumping is happening. Otherwise, it's plenty enough for her to narrow her eyes, feel some misgiving, and then dismiss it and move on. The reader will be paying attention to the twig snap even if the character isn't.

    So great start! Keep at it! Voice is the hardest thing to master, and you've got it down. Good luck!

  4. Love the stakes here.

    How can she end the life of the boy she loves, indeed!


    Great entry!