Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Beginning 150

Megan tried to keep her voice from quavering. "Hello, Joe," she said into the microphone. The lights in the studio were dim, but she still had to resist the urge to hide under her desk. "How can I slay your demons tonight?"

Her new boss, Richard Blake, stood behind the glass separating the studio from the engineering booth and nodded approvingly. They'd fought over that stupid opening line, just as they'd fought over the immense publicity campaign the station had done for her show.

Her caller sounded no more comfortable than Meg felt. "Uh…I have this girlfriend, right? And her father, he like, doesn't approve of me. He doesn't want her to see me. So I thought…"

The images that came to Megan were not happy ones, and she was glad she kept most of her psychic shields up. Angry faces shouted words she could not hear.

Joe went on: “I thought you could, like, zap him with a death ray or something.”

“Sorry, Joe, that’s not what I meant by slaying demons.”

“Oh.” Joe seemed stymied. Then Megan heard him whisper, “You’re right. She doesn’t know it’s me. Some psychic.”

She lowered her shields enough to see that “Joe” was her supposed boyfriend, Zack, holding the phone in one hand and cuddling her best friend Tara with the other. “Of course, Zack, I could make an exception this one time.” Megan lowered her shields fully and sent a psychic energy beam of death at Zack and Tara. Their agonized screams echoed across the airwaves.

When Megan opened her eyes, Richard was staring at her in disbelief. “Did . . . did you just kill two people?” he asked.
“On the air?”

“Oops,” she said.

“Oops nothing. Do you know what this will do for our ratings? From now on, you’re on five hours a night.”

Opening: December Quinn.....Continuation: Anonymous


GutterBall said...

Ha! Behold the power of ratings!

Actually, I'd love to read more of this opening. Her nervousness is palpable, even if you didn't use the "urge to hide under her desk". There may be a bit too much tell, but I don't mind it.

Call-in psychics. What'll they think of next?

But please remember that I am easily amused, so others may have more useful comments. I'd just like to read more.

Word ver: jgbsf - the sound made when receiving a psychic energy beam of death.

Cathy in AK said...

I like the premise too, and wonder if the slaying of demons will be part of the plot. Hope so ; )

none said...

Call-in psychics are hardly new. LBC had one twenty years ago.

GutterBall said...

Heh, I meant "legitimate" call-in psychics. The Psychic Friends, I can do without.

Um...what's LBC?

Anonymous said...

Nice bit of story-telling on the first 150 words. The psychic shields was a nice jumpstart on the deviation. I liked it. I'd read on a little further.

The continuation is cute.

none said...

You saying LBC's psychic wasn't legitimate?


Stacia said...

Thanks everyone! And thanks anonymous, for the great continuation!

The demon slaying bit is where the whole plot hinges, Cathy. :-) The book's chock-full of them.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this, also. I don't think the author means for any actual demon slaying, though.

Which, imho, is a good thing.

McKoala said...

I liked this start too; liked the desire to hide under her desk and the bit about the 'stupid opening line'. I did wonder if you needed 'her new boss, Richard Blake' so early in the piece, though, if you could just say 'Richard' and let the rest come out as you write. Should it be 'she had kept', rather than just 'she kept'? Anyway, interesting start and a funny continuation too!

Cathy in AK said...

"The demon slaying bit is where the whole plot hinges, Cathy. :-) The book's chock-full of them."

Sweeeeet! Glad to hear it. Some agents and editors we all know and love don't want to hear about slaying demons unless there are going to be real demons to slay : )

Ver. word: umeuii--something you'd chant to call forth a demon that December Quinn's character would then go slay

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely want to read more about this girl's ability, and the strained relationship she seems to have with her boss. Great job from both authors on this one.

Anonymous said...

Is there a new sub-sub-genre for paranormal romance thrillers in which the protag is a radio jock, or is the author also a Carrie Vaughn fan? (Or both.)

Kitty and the Midnight Hour hooked me on the first page with the line about being a DJ at a public radio station. Us public radio DJs love being compared to God. Put something like that in here, and I'm your fan.

Stacia said...

Evil dj, I'm not familiar with those books or that author (great, I thought this was original), but would you be willing to email me to answer a few questions about public radio? :-)

Seriously. It's decemberquinn at gmail. I already had a friend who used to do a show, but it's been a couple of year since he told me about it (idle curiosity at the time) and I'd love a second opinion.

GutterBall said...

Heh, are you implying that the LBC psychic IS legit? Bwahah!

Naw, just kidding. Since I didn't know what LBC was, the only psychic call-ins I did know were the Psychic Friends Network (advertised extensively in the States in the '80s and '90s, and I dunno how anyone could believe in them. Even if they were legit, I wouldn't have believed them if they'd told me over the phone that I was calling them. *snerk*

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

While the premise of this doesn't grab me, there are some nice things happening in terms of style. We've got some mild, but not life-or-death tension, we're immediately given a setting, and we even get a tiny bit of (IMHO) subtly done backstory to orient us.

Very nice. Assuming that this book's jacket blurb had attracted me in the first place, I'd definitely keep reading.

I agree, however, with those who question the "urge to hide under her desk," phrase. And I would also suggest changing "nodded approvingly" to "nodded in approval" or something similar. There seems to be an aversion to -ly words, and to adverbs in general, in the literary world these days.

LOL on the comments about call-in psychics. I once knew a girl who quit her waitressing job to become a phone psychic. She also thought Elvis was her guardian angel. Seriously. That's how I knew she was a fake, of course, 'cause Elvis is alive, right?

writtenwyrdd said...

Hilarious continuation. The opening is rather overdone. There's a recently released werewolf novel, "Kitty and the Midnight Hour" that has a werewolf call in show. It also starts something like this.

I've heard a lot of call in psychic radio shows. The public station in the PG/Monterey/Santa Cruz Ca area had them all the time in the 90s, as well as San Francisco. (I used to listen to them on my lunch hour, actually...and that's way more than you wanted to know about me, lol.)

Overall, it made me want to read more. I do agree with gutterball that the pov character is too timid.

Also, the dialog is, if anything, a touch too realistic. We don't need every um, er, or pause in order to get the caller's nervousness.

Stacia said...

Thanks writtenwyrdd. I'll fix that dialogue, and thanks everyone who pointed out the hiding under the desk thing. I'm still figuring out a better way to word that.

She's not actually a radio psychic...nobody actually knows she's psychic, and that's all I'm going to say. :-)

You'll all have to wait until I send EE my query in another week or two. Maybe he'll smoke a cigar and listen to "Danny Boy" while he gives it a face-lift. (Which is actually how I picture EE, just like Albert Finney in Miller's Crossing.)

Anonymous said...

I don't get into the psychic thing too much, but if the story is good I could be hooked. -JTC

Anonymous said...

I swear I recently read a British novel about a radio announcer whose midnight loser of a show becomes popular when he freaks out on the air. There's a long-time girlfriend, a new girlfriend, a strange stalker. What WAS that?