Thursday, January 30, 2014

Face-Lift 1183


Guess the Plot

False Memories

1. I was walking down the beach in Malibu when Julia Roberts came running down from her mansion and invited me up for a nooner. Then there was the time I went to get my driver's license renewed and there was no line. And once . . .

2. In the future, when dentures come with a free set of fake memories, two octogenarians find a way to hook up as versions of themselves fifty years ago. Can they stay inside their memories, or will their nasty nurse "spill" their memory tumblers?

3. Reg is haunted by memories of alien abductions and painful and invasive medical procedures. Finally he meets a hypnotherapist who eases his mind and relieves the terrifying flashbacks. But were the memories real in the first place? Or is the therapist manipulating him into becoming a hitman for the CIA?

4. Is her name Margot, or Celeste? Is she a brain surgeon, or a deep cover Russian operative? And why does she have a gun smoking in her hand? All of these questions might be answered whenever whoever she is analyzes her . . . False Memories.

5. Down South.

6. When Allison goes into the hospital for brain surgery, the surgeon decides to try an experimental procedure, grafting a dead girl's gray matter onto her brain. Now Allison's remembering stuff that happened to the dead chick and getting involved in her life of drug abuse and murder. Which, frankly, is more interesting than her own life ever was.

7. When Meagen didn't grow into the voluptous busty gal she always wanted to be she sought the knife of a famous plastic surgeon. Now she's in demand and loving it. The problem is she didn't pay the piper and the repo man is hunting her. Will she live the life of false mammaries or renege and develop . . . false memories?



Original Version

Most Evil Editor,

Sixteen-year-old Allison wakes up after losing ten months to a car accident and brain surgery – not your average brain surgery, but an experiment grafting some dead chick’s gray matter to her own. [Surgeon: I don't like the looks of this chick's brain. Let's try something unusual. Nurse, is there a dead chick around whose brain we could scrape some gray matter out of? And some super glue?] Her life’s in ruins: stuck in a rehab hospital, she’s hearing voices and reliving what the doctors call false memories – but the lure of that one Kansas pasture remains. [Wait, what? What Kansas pasture?]

Allison explores the memories, until her parents, surgeon and psychiatrist insist on drugs to block the thoughts. Drugs she won’t take. They think she’s crazy, [Is that how the psychiatrist worded his prognosis when talking to Allison's parents? "I think she's crazy."?] but the voice, begging for help, feels like her only sanity – a dead girl [chick] wanting to make amends to the little brother she left behind. Allison goes AWOL from rehab, heading to a town she’s never seen before and stumbling onto tragedy, drug abuse and murder. Then Allison wants redemption for a life that slipped over the edge – even knowing she could be next.

FALSE MEMORIES is a contemporary YA, complete at 48,000 words with series potential. [Is it a series in which each book is about another character who has gray matter from some dead chick grafted onto her brain, or are all the books about Allison adapting to having some dead chick's gray matter on her brain?] The manuscript is written in dual points of view (Allison as well as the girl who died) [I think you should continue to refer to her as the dead chick.] and would appeal to fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY.

I’m a member of SCBWI, and write both MG and YA. I practice medicine as well, but [not legally.] I’ve yet to master the brain-grafting-thing; it seemed so easy in the story. [The problem is obvious. In the book, the dead chick is fresh, and they can get the gray matter with a spoon. You're apparently using a chick who's been dead about 12 hours; try a chisel.]


Notes

Is the Kansas pasture Allison's memory or the dead chick's? And why is it in the query?

I'm thinking you could just tell about the brain surgery and "memories" and say that Allison believes they feel too real to be "false," without mentioning the gray matter graft. Even if you're dead-set on the graft in the book (instead of the dead girl having died in the same accident, or having been in the same hospital room with Allison), because it's believable in the book, you can do without it in the query, where it may give the wrong impression about the book, namely that it's totally wacko.

The setup: Allison wakes from 10 months in a coma to find she has memories of a girl who died recently. She sets out to find some kind of redemption for the girl. That's about all we have. We want more. We want to know what she does, who wants to stop her from butting in, what's her plan, what if she fails?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Face-Lift 1182


Guess the Plot

Things I Can't Unsee

1. Vampires crashing my mother's funeral.

2. My sister choking to death on the jerky I gave her.

3. My grandparents having sex on the floor.

4. Happy Gilmore

5. My gym teacher's penis.

6. Satan killing my family.


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Enid Apcarne is a good girl who’s lived a sheltered life for eighteen years—[ When I hear the phrase "good girl" I assume we're talking about a four-year-old or a dog, not an eighteen-year-old.] [Also, the name "Enid Apcarne" sounds like a name that somewhere in the book is going to turn out to be an anagram of something, and the key to solving a mystery. For instance:


 Canine Padre



                                               or 

                                Darn Nice Ape







The darn nice ape, of course, is Magilla Gorilla. I haven't thought about Magilla Gorilla in decades, but fortunately his theme song is available at YouTube. Which I mention not because the theme song is good, but because what if you were one of the singers on the theme song, and it turned out that the most impressive thing you ever did in your life was to sing on this theme song? Would you put it on your resume? Could you even live with yourself? Anyway, do you really want your readers stopping on page 1 to try to solve an anagram?] until strangers crash her mother’s funeral and freak her father, Morcant, right the hell out. Though he tries hard, he can’t hide his closet-skeletons from her for long.

Morcant’s a law-abiding, church-going man now, but he wasn’t always. He’s a vampire who spent nearly 900 years killing, maiming, and wreaking general havoc before settling down. [Hey, we all go through our wild periods.] The strangers are fellow vampires from Morcant’s law-breaking, church-burning days who want to draw him back into his old life. They try to kill Enid and her younger brother, Geraint, [Anagram: ingrate.] and only barely fail. [If I were trying to convince one of my old army buddies to join me in painting the town red for old time's sake, murdering his children would not be high on my list of inducements. Maybe it's different with vampires.] Then they kidnap Geraint, intending to turn him into a vampire. While Morcant gets distracted by his former lover, [I gotta go rescue my son from . . . You look fantastic for 700 years old, babe.] Enid struggles to stop the vampires from ripping her family apart, preferably before [they rip her throat apart.] she becomes their next victim.

But then she learns that Morcant’s not really her father, [Did he adopt her? I ask because an adoption agency would have to be pretty lax to let a guy with 900 years of killing, maiming and church burning in his past pass a background check.] and she’s not quite human herself. She can see visions of people’s pasts—a dangerous gift around someone with that much blood on his hands. [She's been around him for eighteen years.] The more she learns about Morcant’s past, the less sure she is that she even wants to save him. [It's not Morcant who needs saving; it's Geraint. And ASAP.]

THINGS I CAN’T UNSEE is a 122,000-word YA urban fantasy novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Notes

The opening phrase isn't grabbing me. How about: The day of Enid Apcarne's mother's funeral was a downer even before the gang of vampires crashed the service and demanded that Enid's father join them on a church-burning/killing spree. And things only went downhill from there.

This "not quite human" aspect comes in kind of late. Are her visions the only thing making her not quite human? Because if she has no other powers, it's hard to buy a gang of vampires failing to kill her. Unless she's wearing a garlic necklace, holding a cross, and the sun is just coming up.

Is Morcant Geraint's father? Where's Enid's father?

Even though it's not all backstory and setup, it doesn't take us very far into the book. Basically, Enid finds out stuff about her father's past, and that he's not her father, and that she suddenly can see other people's pasts. So what does she do with this knowledge? What does she want? How does she plan to get it? What happens if she fails?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Success Story


Jennifer Buhl reports that her book Shooting Stars is scheduled for release April 1. The book is available for pre-order at Amazon. Some of you may recall the book from Face-Lift 1028, where it was titled Snap! Memoir of a Paparazza.

Jennifer also reports that she has some TV interviews scheduled, "including Entertainment Tonight and (my favorite) Fox and Friends (not)."

The author was the winning bidder of a complete edit by EE in last year's Brenda Novak auction, and you can win a complete edit by EE in Irene Goodman's February auction to benefit hearing and vision charities. Bidding opens soon.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fave-Lift 1181


Guess the Plot

Cursed

1. When Alicia discovers that her sister is being held by The Tinker, who plans to assimilate her into the Borg collective, there's no time to lose. But it's worse than that, because even if Alicia rescues sis, there's a curse that will pit sister against sister in a Thunderdome death match.

2. At 12, Lisa foolishly told her witch of a grandmother that she wanted to be a writer. Grandmother laughed and said, "All you'll ever do is eat words." Now she's 23, starting her first day at a literary agency, and they've given her the slush pile to filter. Was grandmother, after all, right?

3. The day after he was cursed by a witch, Jack lost both legs in a mysterious accident. She cursed him again, and this time he was attacked by a vampire. But in bat form, he didn't need legs and lived happily ever after.

4. The medical examiners could find no cause of death, but paranormal investigator Maxwell Maxwell could easily see the hallmarks of a deadly curse. All the clues lead to his ex, Helen, a witch with a quick temper. Can he gather enough evidence against her before she carries out her earlier threat to curse him with an affliction beyond the reach of Viagra?


Original Version

Dear [Agent]

Alicia of Capeford returns home after being lost at sea [Alicia of Capeford? Is that the name she goes by? Does everyone in Capeford have "of Capeford" as part of their name? Of course I'm aware of Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves and Tarzan of the Apes, but I never knew whether they were called that while alive or later by historians, and if while alive, I never knew if everyone had a place as part of their name or if "of Cleves" was tacked on to distinguish her from Anne of the Thousand Days and Anne of Green Gables or if it was just royalty who got place names added to their names. Clue me in, history buffs.] and discovers that her sister, Keelty, [Wait, shouldn't that be Keelty of Capeford?] has been arrested for witchcraft and sold to a man called Tinker [of Turkey]. He’s infamous for injecting drugs and implanting clockwork into the people he’s bought. Those who are lucky die on the operating table, and those who aren’t become [cyborgs] his mindless slaves. [Question for discussion: Is it better to be dead or a cyborg?] Upon hearing this, Alicia immediately sets out to find and rescue her sister before [she becomes Keelty of the Borg Collective.] it’s too late.

Unfortunately, Tinker isn’t the only monster she must contend with. The Night has fallen on the world of Eisheim [I before e, except after c.], and the sun won’t return for two seasons. During this period, the Duhan roams. It’s a creature that relentlessly stalks and feeds on all who enter its forest, and Alicia’s trek forces her through the heart of its domain. [I'm guessing this wasn't named after Johnny Duhan, whose song "The Voyage" has been sung at millions of weddings, funerals, anniversaries, etc.]

However, both Tinker and the Duhan turn out to be the least of her worries. [I'm glad. You want her biggest worry to have a more terrifying name than Tinker and the Duhan, which reminds me of the cartoon Pinky and the Brain.] [Also, you want your query to focus on the main character's biggest worry, not the least of her worries, and you've devoted two thirds of it to Tinker and the Duhan.] Alicia learns that Keelty had accidentally cursed the family while she was away. [So Keelty is a witch?] Unless Alicia can understand how both Tinker and the Duhan are integral to the spell’s design before the week is up, it will pit her against her sister until one of them kills the other. [It seems to me that by the time she figures out how both Tinker and the Duhan are integral to the spell’s design, Keelty will be a Borg. Shouldn't she rescue Keelty first and then worry about the spell?] [Also, "integral to the spell's design" makes it sound like the spell is one of Tinker's clockwork contraptions.]

Cursed is complete at 72,000 words and is my first novel. The first five pages are included below.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Notes 

This is mostly the setup. If you condense it to one paragraph:

Alicia returns to her home in Capeford to find that her sister Keelty has been arrested as a witch and sold to The Tinker, a mad scientist who plans to turn her into a mindless slave. What's worse, Keelty has accidentally put a curse on the family, which will pit the two sisters against each other in a caged death match--unless Alicia can reverse the curse.

. . . you'll have room to tell us about Alicia's plan, and what obstacles she must overcome. For instance:

But first things first. Alicia must make her way through a dark forest roamed by basketball player Chris Duhon and rescue Keelty from The Tinker's workshop before he can install his clockwork mechanism where her heart should be.

That still leaves plenty of room to tell us what goes wrong and to take us to the moment of truth when the sisters are about to enter the Thunderdome.


With two people contributing to the Oscar GTP post, and one person contributing a fake plot for this query, perhaps the handwriting is on the wall, and the GTP feature has run its course?


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Charity Auction


Mega-Agent Irene Goodman has been running a monthly auction of her expertise and that of other agents and editors for some time now. You can read about it here.

If you regularly make tax-deductible contributions anyway, here's your chance to get something back in addition to the satisfaction of helping others: valuable feedback on your writing from publishing bigwigs (instead of rejection notes from slushpile interns).

I bring this to your attention not only because it's a good cause, but also because I'll be one of the donors in February and I don't want to be embarrassed by a lack of bidding.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The 8th Annual Oscar Guess the Plot Quiz


Below are the Motion Picture Academy's nominees for best picture. The actual plot of each film is hidden among a few fake plots. Can you get them all right?



Her

A lonely writer gets help with his personal problems from his new computer operating system. But can she help with his biggest problem, the fact that he's fallen in love with her?

The true story of Catherine Williams, an African American opera singer who was captured and sold into slavery.

The true story of the last Aztec and how she clung to her belief system and her culture until she was ultimately murdered for no good reason.

Claude has been invited to his first dinner party. After he uses the master bathroom, he asks the hostess why her robe hook is labeled her and not hers. She claims it says hers, and the other guests agree. Is it Claude, or is everyone in his new neighborhood crazy?


Gravity

Or, more accurately, Lack of Gravity. After their shuttle is destroyed in space, a man and a woman are left tethered together, floating in the void. The woman doesn't complain, mainly because the guy looks just like George Clooney.

Get ready for the real story about this natural force that's bigger than nature, and stronger than you! Everything you thought you knew about gravity has been completely disproved. Take a wild journey with us in this four hour documentary.

The true story of the slave ship Gravity, which carried countless African-Americans to New Orleans.

As the population of Earth rises, the weight of Earth does as well, until Earth's increased gravity starts pulling the moon closer and closer. Scientist Roger Carpenter has a plan that could save us all: ship all the elephants into space.


Nebraska

Noting that their books don't sell well in Nebraska, a publisher titles their next book Nebraska in hopes of spurring sales in that state. A slight improvement in Nebraska sales is accompanied by a massive drop in all other states and yet another bankrupt publisher.

A guy wins a million-dollar sweepstakes and drives to Nebraska to claim his winnings, taking along his estranged son on what could turn out to be the road trip from hell.

t was the state all of Grace's plastic tchotchkes had been shipped from, and each had been signed Gerald. Is Gerald the man in Grace's dreams? Grace leaves everything behind and road trips across America to find herself and the man who fondles her tchotchkes.

The true story of a colony of former African-Ameican slaves as they try to settle the unforgiving plains.


Philomina

Philomina, an Evil Editor minion, decides it's time to fly to New York City for the first time. She's going to find EE in the bustling crowd and get his autograph. The week she arrives is also the Annual Muttonchop Convention. He's everywhere in every shape and size!

No idea what this one's about, but it sounds like one of them foreign films.

It's an Academy requirement that no Oscar ceremony can go on without at least one movie based on a true story and starring Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, or Maggie Smith. Whichever one it is is searching for her long-lost son.

The true story of a former African-American slave who struggles to establish a university in Nebraska.


Captain Phillips

The plot's not important. What's important is that it's got pirates! Arrrrgh!

Move over Morgan! There's a bigger badder captain waiting to crawl inside all the fine young lasses, and he's going to make you eat parrot stew and strut down the plank in a pink tutu and red heart pasties.

The makers of Phillips Milk of Magnesia decide their product needs a mascot. Enter Captain Phillips, a constipated walrus, who needs fast relief if he's to pilot his schooner across the Bering Sea.

The true story of Jack Phillips, who commanded the slave ship 'Nebraska'.


12 Years a Slave

After signing a three-book deal, author Jessica Lorenz discovers that the fine print in her contract forbids her to write anything in any genre for anyone until her contract is fulfilled. If only she were more prolific.

Hercules has had it with Omphale's demands, and three years have felt like a dozen. When she tells him she's pregnant, he plans to leave like any smart man would, but forgets to put the toilet seat down the night before.

An African-American man is kidnapped from his home town in New York. The next thing he knows he's been transported to the American South in the year 1841 and sold into slavery.

The true story of Simon Cohen, a Yale-educated, Holocaust survivor financier at a bank owned by Harvard grads in Nebraska.


American Hustle

As usual, the top prizes at the International Ballroom Championships are being won by Russians and Ukrainians. But wait, there's a new event this year: American Hustle. And Americans Oxsana Yurivich and Alexei Karsai are looking to take home the gold.

The true story of former African-American slaves who founded a drag club in Pittsburgh.

The thirty-ninth installment of the world's most intriguing twelve hour documentaries about various cities in random countries and their flea markets. Next week: Cleveland (a thirteen hour special!)

Two conmen are forced to work for the FBI, and . . . aw, who cares what happens, it's got Jennifer Lawrence.


Dallas Buyers Club

Members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders open an online auction site offering game-worn garments, and bringing in 50 times the money raised by their football-playing counterparts' game-worn jerseys and do-rags.

The true story of a Texas organization that purchased African American slaves for use in Georgia.

In the obligatory AIDS-related nominee, a homophobic bull rider starts a club to help AIDS patients (like himself) get their drugs.

Every city Thomas has been to recently seems to have a Sellers Club. But where are all the Buyers Clubs? Thomas must find the last Buyers Club before he gets attacked by the 50 foot woman.


The Wolf of Wall Street

The true story of Peter Lupin, the Nebraskan former African American slave who financed the importation of African American slaves while hiding behind a veneer of abolitionism.

After losing everything in the recession of 2008, a werewolf sets out to take revenge on every banker he can get his fangs on.

Brokers have noticed the cute mangy canine that roams the halls of Wall Street's financial houses, but no one knows it's a hologram. One Tuesday afternoon, it morphs into a nine foot werewolf and clears the trading floor. Enter Victor, the werewolf's programmer, and Wall Street's fiercest wolf.

The rise and fall of some stockbroker. Wall Street criminals may not get what's coming to them in real life, but maybe in the movies . . .


Answers below



Fakes submitted by CavalierdeNuit, Khazar-khum and EE



Answers

Her: Computer love
Gravity: George Clooney
Nebraska: Road trip
Philomena: Judi Dench
Captain Phillips: Pirates!
12 Years a Slave: 1841
American Hustle: Jennifer Lawrence
Dallas Buyers Club: AIDS
The Wolf of Wall Street: Stockbroker

Friday, January 17, 2014

Veratrum in the News


This month's issue of Clinical Toxicology includes an article theorizing that Alexander the Great died as a result of veratrum poisoning. As some of you may not be familiar with veratrum, this is the perfect time to repeat the query below, which I expanded with my extensive research notes on veratrum.


Dear Cruel Lord of Print:

Your profile at Agent Query indicated you had an interest in urban fantasy. Please consider representing my contribution to the genre, The Wayfarer, an adventure novel told in 100,000 words.

Mallory used to be a vampire. Then his brother, Veratrum, a stronger vampire (perhaps the strongest vampire) [Dracula is the strongest vampire. Don't you know anything?] killed him. However, Mallory rose again, [Making him a zombie vampire. Or is it a vampire zombie?] [Was he killed with a stake through his heart? Because if vampires can return after that, there's no hope for humanity.] this time as a wayfarer, one who stalks the physical and astral planes. Possessed of humanity, he condemns the sins of his former life and swears vengeance on Veratrum [Who would name their kid Veratrum? I Googled it, it's a plant. Also a homeopathic remedy for dozens of things, and that's just under the heading of "Stool." For instance, you supposedly should take Veratrum if your stool is any of the following:

Strong and sharp (acrid), corrosive, wearing away skin; bilious; black; brown; copious; flaky; forcible, sudden, gushing; frequent; green; hard; involuntary; involuntary during flatulence; large; mucous, slimy; odourless; thin, liquid; watery; like rice water.

Veratrum is also recommended for the following symptoms (among hundreds):

Feeling excessively religious; vomiting during diarrhea; face that appears dead; craving refreshing things; imperceptible pulse; collapse after diarrhea; shrunken hands; shrieking.]

and all who serve him. Over a century of failures has stretched Mallory’s patience and forced him to compromise more and more of his ideals in service of his oath. [A century? If you've been seeking revenge on someone for over a century and consistently failing, you have to be the most incompetent wayfarer of them all.] [A zombiefied vampire stalking the astral plane in search of vengeance needs a scarier name than The Wayfarer. He'd have killed Veratrum long ago, but he walks in and it goes:

Mallory: Prepare to die, Veratrum.
Veratrum: Who's gonna kill me?
Mallory: It is I . . . The Wayfarer!
Veratrum (laughing): Hey minions, check it out. The Wayfarer. Run for your lives!
Minions (laughing hysterically as they pummel Mallory): Ooh, The Wayfarer. Save us Master.]
The final assault begins with the rescue of Aethe, a woman Veratrum wants as more than just prey. What exactly he wants with her, Mallory does not know, and when she refuses to tell, Mallory keeps her with him under the guise of protection. The same for Claud, a bystander Mallory carjacks in his flight with Aethe, who manages to get bit by one of Veratrum’s minions. The bite, of course, infects Claude with the Nosferatu. [Quick, give him two tablespoons of Veratrum.] In order to keep the man pacified, Mallory claims there is a cure, but really he wants to use the disease in Claud’s veins to track Veratrum. [The closer they get to Veratrum, the brighter Claud glows.] [Make up your mind how Claud(e) spells his name.]
They take shelter with Mallory’s friends, who are happy to help until they discover where they rank in relation to Mallory’s fevered thirst for revenge. Unable to hear their words over the roar of his obsession, rationalizing his every betrayal, Mallory makes a bargain with another vampire: Aethe for Veratrum. [How can this other vampire deliver Veratrum? Veratrum is stronger. Is it just because it's two against one? In an entire century of trying to kill Veratrum, this is the first time Mallory's thought of enlisting help? What about Veratrum's minions? They're not going to stand by while Mallory and Claud kill Veratrum.] Can he go through with it? At what price vengeance?

I am as yet unpublished. The first five pages are enclosed, as well as an SASE for your response. Thank you for your time,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The 8th Annual Oscar Awards Guess the Plot Quiz (Prep)


Each year we play Guess the Plot with the Best Picture nominees. To prepare for the quiz, I need you to submit fake plots for any or all of the titles below. I will use the Internet to come up with the real plots. Once we have at least four fakes for each title, the quiz will be posted.

Her
Gravity  
Nebraska
Philomina
Captain Phillips
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Face-Lift 1180


Guess the Plot

The Queen of Steel and Fire

1. Once again the fate of the entire world hangs in the balance, and once again it's up to a sixteen-year-old girl to save us all. This time her name is Claire, but by the time it's all over you'll be calling her . . . The Queen of Steel and Fire.

2. Karoleena is stuck making a costume out of dusty feathers and fast food wrappers because the other queens have taken all the fun props. But wait, the construction site across the street has a burning torch and pieces of steel no one needs. Karoleena is going to rule the catwalk.

3. Fierce, independent Catherine Mc Bride has inherited her father's railroad and awesome power. Handsome, crafty Roger Boline has a stake in coal and admires her caboose. Will they be able to join forces against the sinister trestle cartel, or will their lives be a trainwreck?

4. Forced to marry the aging King Trunglow, Princess Letitia is furious. Vowing to never bear an heir, she flees to the edges of her new kingdom. When her erstwhile husband and her distraught father are slain attempting to find her, the recalcitrant bride accepts her new reign. Odd how any job is more tolerable if you aren't married to a geezer.

5. Alexander "Alex" Owens, a welder at a Pittsburgh steel mill who lives with his dog Gigi in a converted whorehouse, works nights at Mawby's Bar and Grille which holds a nightly burlesque. It's a plum gig--until the night three of his coworkers accidentally drop in.

6. Queenie Flourtnoy is Fire Robinson’s blues singer until she falls for Steel Sanders and sings for his bluegrass band. Fire is furious and says “I’ll kill ‘em both”. Then cops find Queenie decapitated and Steel with a .40 cal bullet in his heart. Hot detective Mary McRae is determined to nail Fire this time. Will she get Fire or will she be singing the defeated detective blues?


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Your agency’s representation of many fresh works with strong female protagonists is one of the primary reasons that I am writing to you. I’ve also followed your blog for several years, and I’ve always found your advice and insights very helpful and interesting. [It's a fine line between flattery and sucking up. The thicker you lay it on, the closer to the end of the query you should put it.] As I see that you accept fantasy queries, and that you currently represent several writers in the young adult fantasy genre, [If you're talking about the same material you called "fresh works" in sentence 1, let's move on. Opening with a whole paragraph about why you chose to write to this person would be called burying the lead if you were a newspaper reporter.] [If the job "newspaper reporter" still existed.] I would like to submit my novel, The Queen of Steel and Fire, for your consideration.

After her father’s sudden death, sixteen year old princess Claire Erinn is about to become the first female ruler of Keldaren. But when Claire learns that the king was poisoned, she begins to unravel the vast conspiracy closing in around her. [At this point I would expect her to "suspect" the conspiracy rather than to "unravel" it.] After Death herself attacks Claire during an assassination attempt, [Who is attempting to assassinate whom?] enemies begin to arise on all fronts…even from within her own family. [If both Death and someone else were attempting to kill Claire at the same time, I'm wondering how she's still alive. They wouldn't call Death Death if she screwed up her missions.] Unprepared to rule, Claire must fight to save both her kingdom and her life. When war erupts, the fate of the entire world hangs in the balance, as Claire’s enemies turn to sorcery, and the dark power behind the conspiracy is unveiled. [When the fate of the world hangs in the balance, there's gotta be a better hope than a sixteen-year-old who isn't even prepared to rule one lousy kingdom.]

The Queen of Steel and Fire is the first volume of a planned series. Although this is the first novel that I have written, I have previously written short stories, some of which have been published in The Peninsula Pulse, a local news and literary magazine. The manuscript is complete and is 96,000 words. May I send you sample pages for review? Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,


Notes

I would drop the whole first paragraph. The last paragraph can do without the second sentence, and you can drop any two of the last three sentences.

That leaves the plot paragraph,which would be okay if this were the voice-over of a five-sentence movie trailer or the back cover copy, but I would like more information. How does this teenager plan to defeat conspirators, sorcerers, a "dark power," and Death herself? The Fantastic Four couldn't win this battle.

What do all these enemies want? To rule Keldaren? How can the fate of the entire world depend on whether Claire Erinn, who isn't prepared to rule, rules Keldaren? Why doesn't she go hang out at the mall and let everyone else fight it out? Perhaps if we know why Keldaren is so special, and if you reveal who's behind the conspiracy and what super powers Claire possesses . . .

The title suggests the steampunk genre. Or does steampunk have to be iron instead of steel? In any case, if Claire has a magic sword that shoots fire, say so.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Become a Contributor


Although The History of the World in Tweets is as comprehensive as anyone could reasonably expect, there are a few years between 10,000 BC and 2013 AD that are unrepresented in the book. Here's your chance to get your name on the "Acknowledgements" page.

Get a copy of the book (now only $1.99), choose a year that has no tweet, look up all the events that happened that year, and choose one you can make a funny comment about. It's easy if you can find an event involving Münster, Boris Godunov or Flemish people. Event + comment must be tweet-size, of course.

Because the book is digital, I can easily slip your contribution into its proper place, and all future copies will include you. Naturally you'll want to buy another copy to see your name on the acknowledgements page. You may even want to buy several copies to give to your friends and relatives.

Plus, when you query your current work-in-progress, you'll have something impressive to put in your credits for a change, namely: My work appears in The History of the World in Tweets. Doesn't that sound better than "I posted an article about strip mining on my blog "Bloomington Today" once."?

Of course all contributions must be deemed worthy of inclusion by EE, who has already rejected dozens of his own tweets, so don't get your hopes up, but at least for once you'll get your e-jection the same day you submit instead of three months later. Plus I may post the unchosen ones on the blog some day when I have nothing else to post, which, lately, is most days.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Overseas Customers . . .

As the Square Market has yet to open outside the US, I have created a temporary Paypal button for each of the 2 new items in the EE store. You may click on "overseas purchases" in the sidebar, opening a page on which you may buy either book through Paypal. You'll be given a chance to pay with your Paypal account, or to click that you don't have one, which opens a window allowing you to use your credit card.

The price is higher on Evil Editor Strips Again, because of the expensive overseas shipping. As The History of the World in Tweets is digital, the price is the same $1.99. If you are overseas and there's something else in the Evil Editor Store that you want, let me know and I'll create a Paypal button for that.


Strip 3.01


Click strip to enlarge.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Editor Slashes Book Price to Prove Point


In discussing with a well-known agent the optimum price for a digital copy of The History of the World in Tweets, I contended that a couple bucks would do, and was advised to make it $1.99. I argued that my minions, unlike average people, are not so simple-minded as to fall for that old ploy, making the price a penny less than a whole dollar multiple because $1.99 sounds like a lot less than $2.00. (About a dollar less.) Heck I just went to Amazon and found a book priced at $111.98. Do they really think someone who would have balked at a $112.00 price tag on a book is gonna say, "$111.98? What a bargain."?

The agent said companies wouldn't use this ploy if it didn't work, and I said, "Yeah? Let's try a little experiment. I'll price the book at $2.06 for three days and then I'll price it at $1.99 for three days and I'll bet you $5000 that it doesn't sell any better when I drop the price."

The agent said, "$5000 is too much to bet on something so trivial."

I said, "Okay, lets make it $4999.99," and we shook on it.

So, I've now lowered the price to $1.99. I realize this makes those of you who already paid $2.06 feel like chumps, but obviously if I'd told you in advance that the price would be slashed in three days, you would have waited, and the experiment's data would have been corrupted.

Anyway, ignore everything you just read, and focus on this: Evil Editor's new book, The History of the World in Tweets is available for $1.99.

Just click BOOK STORE in the sidebar.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Synopsis 40


Guess the Plot

Thoughts of Forever

1. A philosopher has a revolutionary idea to stop aging: To think is to be, so all he needs are Thoughts of Forever. Now if he can just escape the evil government agents and reach Tahiti with his hot blond assistant, he'll have it made!

2. Deep in the wilds of ... some western state or other that recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana, a dude meditates on stuff that totally weirds out a dude’s brains. Like ... how high is up? Or ... when’s the end of forever? ... Or ...

3. Seventeen-year-old Kyle has never considered suicide--until he meets Cory. Together they discuss the idea that death is like entering an eternal dream. They make a suicide pact but Kyle goes through with it and Cory doesn't. It was all a trick by Cory who turns out to be Kyle's evil imaginary friend.

4. Twelve-year-old Jenny's classmates call her "Forever" because once she starts talking, she goes on and on forever. At the suggestion of her favorite teacher, she tries expressing herself through writing instead. But when Jenny loses her backpack at the mall, a desperate literary agent happens upon her diary. Soon the chatty seventh-grader finds herself the bestselling author of a memoir filled with the . . . Thoughts of Forever.

5. Johnny Dupa experiments with old adages. He's already stapled a piece of jelly toast to the back of a cat, and tossed them both in the air. Now Johnny's contemplating eternity. If an hour with his girlfriend seems like a moment, and a moment with his hand on a lit kitchen burner seems like forever--what if he does both at the same time? Hilarity ensues.

6. The wait at the Emergency Room. The span of time it takes water to boil. The excruciating delay between sugar plum dreaming and waking Christmas morning. All of these exceed the length of her last marriage, but Kim K. Is determined to be a bride again. This time, on network TV with her new reality show: Thoughts of Forever.


Original Version

SYNOPSES: [Synopsis]

Kyle is a junior in high school with a wonderful girlfriend, a pesky yet loveable little sister, and parents that care deeply about their children. On his seventeenth birthday, [A quick scan down the page reveals that there's no paragraphing. This leads me to fear that the book has no paragraphing. This leads me to scrap this and move on to something that does have paragraphing. Wait, am I seriously that petty?] Kyle goes out to dinner with his family. After being seated, his little sister, Kim, asks to go to the restroom by herself, rather than being escorted by a parent. After some teasing about being so worried, their Kim’s mother Cherri reluctantly agrees to let her go. While searching for the bathroom Kim is kidnapped, and a witness immediately calls the authorities. It is while the police are questioning the woman who reported the crime that a gunshot is heard outside, and the family loses their beloved Kim. [The family vow never to patronize this restaurant again.] [Unless it's to order takeout, because hey, the ribs are to die for.] After the funeral a few days later, Kyle notices tension rising between his parents, causing him to shut down emotionally. This creates a barrier between him and his girlfriend, Elle, which she cannot break through. Cherri and her husband, Evan, continue to fight at home, and issues over responsibility of Kim’s death [Is it Cherri's fault for relenting and letting Kim go to bathroom alone? Or Evan's fault for mocking Cherri's caution until she finally gave in? Normally I'd blame Evan, but Cherri spells her name with an "i."] [Then again, Evan married a woman who spells Cherri with an "i."] and emotional vacancy drive the wedge further and further between the two. Kyle’s frustration mounts, and it is evident to everybody in his social circle. Elle is deeply affected by his sudden lack of affection and perpetual coldness, and she ends things with him. It is only shortly after this that Cherri and her husband, Evan, decide to split for the time being. In a fit of tears, Kyle hops in his car and carelessly weaves through the streets until he reaches Kim’s grave, where he goes to calm down and experience some solace with thoughts of his sister who loved him so dearly. Here Kyle meets a fellow teenager, Cory, who talks with Kyle briefly, and provides some comfort. After parting here, Kyle returns home and gets his first full night’s sleep since before all of the tragedy. Evan soon comes back to visit with Kyle and see how he is holding up, only to be shut out by his son. Kyle walks outside to clear his head where he meets Cory again, and they talk. They quickly become best friends, and Cory acts as a confidante as well as an advice giver. With Cory’s help, Kyle gets the nerve to talk to Elle again, only to be rejected. Kyle’s parents approach him with talks of a finalized divorce days later, and he again walks outside in hopes of finding Cory, who always seems to be around outside when Kyle needs it. This time Cory has a dark look in his eye, one caused by a harrowing pain that Kyle felt he could understand. Together they discuss life, and how much better everything is when they’re asleep. They fall in love with the prospect of dreams, of an escape from their realities. After a few talks of their affinity with dreams, Cory asks Kyle how often he contemplates suicide, to which Kyle reports never. Yet the idea does not put Kyle off, instead he envisions it as entering an eternal dream. Together they make a pact, and hang themselves in Kyle’s room. After not hearing from their son in over 24 hours, Evan and Cherri barge into his room only to see their son hanging in the center of the room, eyes fixated on the empty noose in front of him.


Notes

Hard to buy a guy leaving a restaurant with a hostage, and when the cops show up, presumably a few minutes later, the guy is still right outside with his hostage. And then he decides to fire a gun just in case the cops are too stupid to look around outside. Maybe he was raping Kim but you didn't include that because it would make the book seem like a downer?

Most people who read books as their escape from reality don't want to read about a family that goes through the violent death of one child, a divorce, and the suicide of their other child.

Paragraphing would make this 100% better, but it would still need a lot of work. Unfortunately, while I would prefer that it be a lot shorter, (I'd get rid of Elle for starters) there's no telling how long a synopsis should be. It should be however long the editor wants it to be. My advice is to peddle your book to someone who doesn't want a synopsis.

The lengthy section between the kidnapping and the suicide talk has a listy quality. As if you could just stick "And then" in front of every sentence. Better to choose the most important events and elaborate on them in layers than to list as many events as possible.

If Kyle somehow felt responsible for Kim's (mostly accidental) death, there'd a more interesting family dynamic. Feeling like he's to blame, and/or like his parents feel he's to blame, leading to suicide. The only connection between Kim's death and Kyle's is that Cory might not have entered the scene without Kim's death. You've made Kyle's suicide sound more like an experiment to find out if death leads to eternal dreaming than a reaction to what's happened to his family.

Who was doing the teasing? I assume the father, as he and Cherri argued about responsibility. Was Kyle joining in?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Book Trailer



Click here to watch the trailer for The History of the World in Tweets.

New Books from Evil Editor


1. The History of the World in Tweets

I was planning to publish this in print, but it looks better in color, and color would have cost more than I was willing to charge for a 106-page book, so I decided to go for e-book, except formatting an ebook requires more time or money than I cared to invest, so I'm emailing you a pdf copy readable on your computer, tablet, or Kindle. As I don't have to pay a book printer, I'm able to sell at the rock-bottom price of $2.06. Sure, I could just give it away, but then everyone would order a copy, and I would spend all my time emailing it to people who didn't really want it except that it's free.



2. Evil Editor Strips Again

Somehow I was able to come up with a second collection of comic strips featuring the world's most famous editor. Just as big and just as funny as the first. If you have to ask the price you can't afford it, but I'm selling it at my cost, which is a lot lower than I could find anywhere else. This one includes Evil Editor's Graphic Novelette!



Also, I've removed the "store" from the Evil Editor empire, and opened one in the Square Market. You can go there by clicking "BOOK STORE" in the sidebar. Square is a company started by the guy who came up with Twitter. You may have encountered their product for accepting credit cards (by attaching a "square" device to an ipad or iphone) if you spend money at Starbucks or farmers markets or with cab drivers, hairdressers, prostitutes, etc. Square takes less of a cut than their competitors, including the one I've been using. I've added shipping costs (to US addresses) to the prices of the books.

To celebrate the opening of the new store, I'm attempting to unload some of the older books that are gathering dust on my shelves by not adding a shipping charge into the price of Novel Deviations or Why You Don't Get Published. Plus, if you buy all three Novel Deviations books or both Why You Don't Get Published books, you get them for $7.50 each.

If you want books shipped outside the US, email me first. Square Market isn't available outside the US yet, but we can work out something with Paypal or my old shopping cart partner, CCNow.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Face-Lift 1179


Guess the Plot

Ordinary

1. A vampire, mummy, zombie, werewolf, and alien walk into a dive bar. No one seems to care. Then the loneliest, most ordinary teen girl on the planet walks in and all hell breaks loose.

2. Ever notice how many movies, books, games, plays start with a normal, ordinary day? Everyone is going along, minding their own business, when suddenly an Orc comes running through, machine gunning the place. Wait--that was right outside the gym just now. And all Jason wanted this time was to pass Algebra.

3. Violet is in her fourth year at Miss Sadinity's School of Sorcery. Alex is in his fifth year, and doesn't even know she exists. Sixth-year Gretchen says she can fix that. Will she--or will Violet be stuck looking--Ordinary?

4. Jane Plane had always thought of herself as a cartoon that was quite ordinary: pretty, but flat to the point of two-dimensionality. Then her artist took a class in 3-D multimedia technology. Whoa! Move over, Lady Gaga!

5. Someone--or something--is preying on the local citizenry, and it's up to a team of werewolves to stop it. The last thing they need is some totally ordinary high school junior like Charlie Hawthorne elbowing into their pack, but when push comes to shove, guess who saves the town's ass?

6. Dan is born under a sign that prophesies greatness in all endeavors. Through high school, he wins every contest and receives every award. But Dan craves to be like everybody else. So he runs away . . . and accidentally breaks the marathon record. He takes a night job in a greasy spoon and wins an international chef award. He hides deep in the mountains and stumbles on Coronado’s seven cities of gold. Can Dan ever be ordinary?

7. In Ordinary, Oklahoma everyone lives in peace and harmony, with good will toward men. Unless of course, you're a woman. Because in Ordinary, women are hunted for sport. And that busload of nuns that had engine trouble is doomed, unless CJ McGillicutty gets there first.

8. John Smith, is an ordinary man. He is a married, white, middle-manager with 2.2 kids and can't decide if he should spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with his in-laws. He's not even sure if he should take his tree down before New Years or after. His life choices are in flux and a quandary. Then his wife asks for a divorce. Hilarity ensues.


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

There is nothing special about Charlie Hawthorne. [I'm hooked. I must read on to find out the most fascinating thing about Charlie, namely why she's the main character of a novel.]

Keeping up her grades should be the hardest part of junior year, but when her best friend Melissa starts to experience strange recurring dreams and superhuman senses, Charlie knows that she can’t let her face this alone. [The part before the "but" has little to do with the part after. Instead of "hardest part" you need something like "main focus" or "sole objective,"] She throws herself into the problem the best way that she knows how: by finding out as much as she can. [She's totally ordinary, but when the chips are down she swings into action by ferreting out information like a ferret ferrets out whatever it is ferrets ferret out. She's the superhero known as the . . . Research Assistant.]

With the help of an old book and her own knowledge of myths and legends [Google], [not to mention the fact that Melissa is suddenly ordering depilatories by the gallon,] Charlie discovers that her friend has become a werewolf. She’s not the only one—there are three others, all turned by the same person and for the same purpose.

Connor, local engineering student and born werewolf, wants nothing to do with Charlie, but Melissa is part of the team he has assembled to protect the town from supernatural threats. Something is preying on the citizens of Elks Glade and three people are already dead, with more to come if the wolves don’t stop it. [Because nothing helps townspeople feel safe and secure in their neighborhood like knowing there's a pack of werewolves roaming the streets.] [Though I suppose it's better than knowing George Zimmerman is out there.] [You might change "stop" to "prevent" so no one thinks you mean the wolves are doing the killing.]

He thinks that Charlie is just in the way, but she stubbornly elbows her way into the pack. [This reminds me of that fifteen-year-old girl who demanded to go along with SEAL Team 6 when they took out bin Laden. As I recall, they threw her out of the helicopter over the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.] When the threat comes close to home, can she prove that an ordinary human is capable of protecting her town and her family? [That would be easier to answer if I knew what the threat was. Offhand, I can't think of any supernatural threat she wouldn't be utterly worthless against.]

Ordinary is a 60,000 [page?] paranormal young adult novel that explores the challenge of believing in your own power when everyone around you seems extraordinary. [Seems extraordinary? They're werewolves!]

Thank you for your consideration.


Notes

Better ways to open the query:

1. When Charlie Hawthorne sees her best friend Melissa howling at the moon . . .
2. Charlie Hawthorne's best friend Melissa is a werewolf.
3. Something is preying on the citizens of Elks Glade . . . and it's not the werewolves.
4. This book has werewolves, but No! Don't stop reading! These are good werewolves!
5. Werewolves!

Even ordinary people can be good at something. Does Charlie have some special talent? Is it her extensive knowledge of myths and legends that lets her defeat an entity a pack of werewolves can't?

Are all werewolves good in this world? I ask because turning people into werewolves in order to reduce the amount of killing going on sounds like a plan that could backfire. Were the killings done in a way that might lead the citizens to suspect that werewolves dunnit?

Monday, January 06, 2014

Face-Lift 1178


Guess the Plot

The Impossible Treasure

1. Angelique was always told to guard her most important treasure and save it for her wedding night. But the lure of parties and a stream of luscious guys make that directive impossible.

2. A curse has robbed Shandra of her childhood memories, so she signs onto the crew of a pirate ship sailing off in search of a treasure that will grant the bearer one wish. Now she'll just have to convince the pirates to let her have the treasure.

3. Pretzels, Cheez Whiz, ground beef, chips, thirteen cases of beer, and dudes yelling at the football game on a big screen: Mitch just wants his man cave back. His mother-in-law will regret sleeping in the den when football season starts, but Mitch doesn't know--she likes football and beer too.

4. Benny Makaway is a top fund manager on Wall Street. His investors make scores of millions while he makes hundreds of thousands. Benny starts his own asset management trust. He claims high returns but puts most of the money into his Lichtenstein account. Federal prosecutors are suspicious. Will Benny make away with billions or take up residence at Leavenworth?

5. Don't open the box, the wizard said. What the hell did some guy in a costume know? It's just a prop. All those funny whispers and strange lights are just part of the toy, aren't they? Right? And--Jesus Christ, what the hell is that slimy mass over by the couch?

6. When physicist, Maxine Planke figured out the origin of the universe she decided to keep it to herself. To prove her postulation all she needs to do is hijack the mothballed shuttle, Discovery. Her plan to land the orbiter on another planet is tricky to say the least. But Maxine has a plan. To land on the Sun, she'll have to wait till dark.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Shandra knows that she had a childhood. She just can’t remember it.

After five long years of searching for the Impossible Treasure, [Does she even know the meaning of the word "impossible"? There's a reason they call it the Impossible Treasure. I wouldn't spend five minutes searching for something called the Impossible Treasure or the Nonexistent Plunder or the Imaginary Spoils.] Shandra finally has a promising lead to find the chance for one impossible wish granted. [She has a lead to find a chance. That's like calling a sign in a gas station window that says "Lottery tickets here!" a lead to find a chance for twenty million dollars. I'm always getting promotions in the mail that say WIN A NEW CAR! All you have to do is come by the showroom. And take a test drive. And you'll be entered in Toyota's nationwide contest.] The only problem is, it will force her to join yet another pirate crew, something she vowed never to do again. [Wait, you've got pirates and you waited this long to mention it? And opened with that crap about not remembering her childhood? Ye oughter be forced to walk the plank, scurvy dog.] Despite being attacked by a ship that’s somehow alive, a crew that would rather she jump ship, and other deadly pirates vying for the same treasure, Shandra is [inexplicably not dead.] determined to be free from the curse that robbed her of every memory of her past, no matter what the cost. [Even if her crew are the ones who get to the treasure first, they're not gonna waste the wish on getting her childhood memories back. They're gonna want booty. Of one kind or the other.]

But pirates and magic aren’t the only mysteries that reside on the nine seas, [Nine? Last I heard there are seven seas: Mediterranean, Caribbean, Belegaer, Sea of Helkar, Sea of Núrnen, Sea of Rhûn and Sea of Ringiland.] [Possibly you were including the Dune Sea on Tatooine and the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon, but neither contains the key ingredient of a sea, namely water.] as Shandra gets ever closer to finding the Impossible Treasure she may discover that the greatest mystery to discover is who she really is. [Better yet, she may discover that the greatest mystery to discover is to discover who she really is.] [That last plot sentence would pack more punch if she were originally looking for actual treasure but instead found who she really is. As she was already looking for who she really is, you're basically saying she was seeking her identity but she discovered it's more important to seek her identity.]

The Impossible Treasure is a Young Adult fantasy novel, complete at 58,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Notes

We need to know Shandra's age. I tend to think of pirates as characters in books for a younger crowd than YA.

If she's, say, sixteen, that means she's been off searching for her past since she was eleven? I don't remember much of my childhood before the age of eleven despite having never been put under a curse. Admittedly that may be because of the years I spent on meth and crack.

Also, assuming she's about sixteen, I find it hard to believe this isn't the first time she's been a crewmember of a pirate ship.

The query is wordy and vague. Perhaps a start like this would be more grabby:

When sixteen-year-old Shandra learns that a pirate ship is setting sail in search of a genie in a bottle, she's skeptical. But if the genie is real, he may be the only one who can break the curse that robbed Shandra of all her childhood memories. So she signs on to the crew.

Then tell us a cohesive story, rather than just listing a few things that happen.

Consider making Shandra thirteen and calling the book middle grade.

Friday, January 03, 2014

The Historian


I'm thinking of starting a new Twitter account. I'll call it The Historian.This is my avatar:


The feed would look like this (click to enlarge):


Ultimately it would be a way to promote my book The History of the World in Tweets. But would anyone buy it? Maybe it's all just a pipe dream, my getting rich by selling a copy to everyone on Twitter.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Success Story


Frequent contributor to this blog Whirlochre reports that his horror/humour work "Bank of the Dead" is yours for the taking, by which I mean the buying, but at a price so low it's like the taking.

Details here.

New Beginning 1021


August 1822

“Go away!” Kincaid shouted at Joe. There wasn’t a need to turn in the saddle and look back. He was there. The sounds of creaking leather and the clip of hooves said so. He had been there for half a day since he come trotting up with the pack mule in tow. Like he was ready to go anywhere and stay out as long as need be, the mule was loaded so.

“I said ‘Go away’,” the young man shouted again.

“Thought you said I free,” Joe replied. “Thought you said I ain’t a slave no longer. That Lerocque don’t own me, and you don’t own me.”

“I did!” Kincaid snapped.

“Then I free to ride where I want. Free to ride south like I doing. Maybe go to Santa Fe and spend some time.”

“I don’t need no mammy!” Kincaid raised his voice more. Can’t that darky see I don’t want to be around no one. That being alone and feeling the hurt was what a man needed at a time like this.

Kincaid spurred up, planning to outpace the slave, when suddenly two suspicious individuals breached the wooded trail, their faces blighted, skin hanging half off the taller one's scalp. Kincaid realized the fortuitousness of his unwelcome shadow.

With a brutal yank on the bit, Kincaid reared his horse clear around and dashed past Joe and his pack mule. Yes, when encountering the unholy zombie werewolves known to inhabit the region it was best to be accompanied on the trail by a slow man on a slow animal.

Hearing Joe's anguished cries echo through the forest Kincaid was troubled. Until he realized: Joe died a Freeman.



Opening: Wes Redfield.....Continuation: Veronica Rundell