Monday, April 30, 2012

New Beginning 942

Some months after my cousin took a bad fall down the grand staircase of his home, I called on him for an extended stay. I arrived but a short hour before the doctor was to arrive for one last examination, and he, having burned off any inherent bashfulness at boarding school and again in the army, invited me to stay and chat throughout the examination.

The doctor struck a match and passed it before my cousin's eyes to watch his pupils follow it; snapped his fingers at either ear to see if he started. My cousin's joints were flicked and found adequate. The doctor seemed pleased with his recovery."

"Has your appetite been well?" he asked, writing mysterious marks into a notebook.

"Strong as ever," said my cousin. "Stay for tea and I shall prove it."

"And your libido?"

"Positively libid."

"And how have you slept?"

I saw my cousin hesitate for a slip of a moment before saying, "Never deeper. Never deeper."

"Appetite and libido good?" The doctor's face wrinkled his concern. "And yet you're sleeping deep? Hmmm."

The omnipresent author slipped my cousin a note. His face lit up, and he spoke with a renewed vigour.

"Maybe I've discovered some fantasy dream world the rest of this story will be about, in which I'm some testosterone-fueled centaur laird taking a stand against the nouveau teen vampire chic with hooves a-blazing."

"Might work," said the doctor, tossing aside his stethoscope, "but you reckoned without the Snake Lords of the Preposterous!"

As serpents slid from beneath his Red Cross poncho, I sensed it was time to play my own hand. It roared from my wrist, half Addams Family appendage, half Fireball XL5 rocket propulsion blast, and stabbed a series of alien-looking sigils into my cousin's bare chest.


"Ha!" cried the doctor. "Your edict has fallen foul of the terminal navel. If you're gonna inscribe a call to arms on a torso, do it on a giant where there's more room to flow freely."

The omnipresent author slipped my cousin another note.

"Forget the horses and the snakes. Looks like we're going with romance."

No need for further words. The three of us embraced each other on the hospital bed. Then we kissed like harlots, ready to spawn some fantasy love child...

Opening: 150.....Continuation: Whirlochre

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Film Noir

New Beginning 941

Vince looked at me tiredly. I slouched in my chair and looked back as blankly as possible.

“It was a good job, Maus. What was your problem?”

I stared at him, long enough to irritate and not quite long enough to make him repeat himself. Then I said, “Dunno.”

His eyes narrowed, always a danger signal to me. Very levelly, he said, “The problem was that it was legal.”

“It was the manager,” I lied. “He didn’t like me.”

His eyes got even narrower, and he worked his jaw for a minute. If he’d verbalized that expression, he would’ve been saying, I’m not going to punch your face, no matter how much you tempt me to. He looked back down at my file for a moment, long enough to get his temper back under control. Then he told me, “I know the manager. He’s helped a lot of kids with a good job. He's patient, and he likes working with kids.” He met my eyes. “The truth, Maus, is that you don’t want to be helped.”

“The truth," I said, “is he’s all patience and virtue when it comes to Face Lifts and Guess the Plots, but I was two minutes late with his cheese danish. There is no happy ending to that scenario.”

Vince picked up the file with my manuscript and sighed. “I guess we could try self-publishing.”

“Too late.” I buried my head in my hands. “Evil Editor blacklisted me there, too.”

Opening: Rachel Roy.....Continuation: PLaF

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Face-Lift 1021

Guess the Plot


1. In the mystyc land of Faeyrynn a young fey must fight to reclaim his throne and . . . oh, hell. You've already stopped reading, haven't you?

2. Remus Longbow is a plucky orphan destined to find a sword, become a mighty warrior, and then die in combat with the dragon Illuvica before the real hero shows up.

3. When Dr. Shortbread synthesizes a new molecule he calls Illuvica, he has no idea that he has created a substance making people irresistible to the opposite sex. Which is useless to him because he's gay. Can he destroy the substance before his boyfriends all defect?

4. Archeologist Len Bianchi, exploring Rome’s oldest catacombs dating from the third century B.C., opens a crypt releasing Illuvica, the demigod vampire of felines. The Romans sealed her off over two thousand years ago. Now she’s really pissed--especially about that stupid dog thing--and wants revenge on all Italy.

5. Andi Smirnov, the only human still living on a generational starship, survives alone, becomes a cyborg, and finds happiness with the ghost of the ship on a new world.

6. Parry goes to Illuvica to sell pumpkins. But war suddenly breaks out and Parry's big brother Leo is jailed for murdering the king. Can Parry save Leo and Illuvica? More importantly, can he do so without magic, which is a no-no?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Parry Vine can’t wait to travel to a nearby kingdom to help his brother and sister sell pumpkins from their family farm. [Yes, selling pumpkins does sound exciting.] [Basically it means standing next to a pile of pumpkins all day and occasionally someone takes one and gives you five dollars. Though in olden days it was more like five cents.] But when they arrive in Pierceland [So named because all the inhabitants have piercings], excitement quickly turns to despair. Parry’s brother Leo is thrown in jail and falsely accused of poisoning King Radkor. [Kings generally have enough bodyguards around them to prevent pumpkin merchants from slipping poison into their mead. Plus they have food tasters. Plus, even if the king's chef bought a pumpkin, he wouldn't feed it to the king raw, so how quickly could the king have been poisoned by Leo?] 

The beloved king’s death throws all three kingdoms of Illuvica into chaos, [What is Illuvica? A planet? A continent? A video game?] with the Vine siblings in the middle of it all. Parry gets his hands on an important artifact that could buy Leo’s freedom, as long as he can deliver it to the right person.

[Parry: They think my brother murdered the king. I need to get him out of jail before they hang him.

The Right Person: I hear you have the fabled Scissors of Endor. Perhaps we can work out a deal.]

War breaks out, and Nora is caught in the crossfire, [Nora? Who's Nora? Ah, is that the sister mentioned way back in the first sentence? If you name the siblings in sentence 1 it'll save having to later identify them.] searching for a way to help the soldiers without getting in the way herself. [Drop Nora from the query. She's only there for eye candy.] Meanwhile, Leo attempts to escape from prison with no help from his cellmate, a clever princess with a sharp mind but a cold shoulder. [They lock the guy suspected of poisoning the king in a cell with the princess?] [There's a reason men and women aren't put in the same cell: jail is supposed to be punishment.]

And beyond the battlefield, someone is plotting another murder and scheming to break the bonds that have kept magic out of Illuvica for over a century.

If the Vine siblings ever want to return safely to their hometown, they must reunite and work together to stop magic from being released. [The place is at war. And releasing magic would worsen the situation?] But in spite of what he has been told about the dangers of magic, letting it loose might be the only way for Parry to emerge from the shadow of his older siblings. Will Parry put everyone he loves in danger to achieve his dreams? [What has been told about the dangers of magic?] [What are these dreams Parry wants to achieve?]

ILLUVICA, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 65,000 words and would work as a stand-alone novel or as the first installment in a series. [How old is Parry? As the youngest of the siblings, and the star of the show, I assumed this was middle grade. Are high school kids gonna want to read about Parry the pumpkinmonger?] [Parry the Pumpkinmonger would be a good title if you convert it to a children's picture book.]

I am an award-winning composer of choral music and a middle school band teacher. [Please buy my book for six figures and set me free.] When I’m not teaching seventh graders to play “Hot Cross Buns” [If you'd teach them something by Maroon 5 or Gaga they might stop hating you.] I am usually blogging about the books I read or sewing costumes for comic book conventions and renaissance faires.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



The main issue here is the release of magic. Apparently the release of magic will help Leo get out of jail and help Parry achieve his dream. But . . . But what? What's the downside of releasing magic? How does it put everyone in danger?

Why does the death of Pierceland's king throw the other kingdoms into chaos?

This is mainly a list of a few things that happen. We don't need to know what Nora's doing or that Leo tries to escape from prison or who his cellmate is. Focus on Parry's goals (to free Leo and achieve the dream of emerging from his siblings' shadow?), his plan, and what's at stake if his plan backfires.

Somehow saying Parry can't wait to help his brother and sister sell the pumpkins doesn't sound like the same kid who's trying to emerge from their shadows. Or maybe it sounds like the same kid but not at the same age.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Beginning 940

I remember sadness from when I was a little girl.  Death had taken someone close to my family but i was too young to comprehend the full impact or remember the details.  In my teens death was harsh and in three.  First my cousin, lost to cancer.  She younger than me.  Then the soccer player.  Instant inexplicable death in the locker room after practice.  Finally my friend.  My Christopher all golden haired and perfect.  That fateful day he had called... I wasn’t home, was on my way to see him.  His death hit me like a tidal wave.  Couldn’t breathe, think.  Couldn’t eat for days.  Thoughts of the trigger pull, the body lying in puddles of thick red blood.  Forever congealed in my memory.

So much blood.  Not Dexter’s mother’s death in a boxcar blood.  But years after Christopher death decided to taunt me.  What would I do to save a life?  Always in the wrong place at the wrong time incapable of saving anyone a trio of attempted suicide’s came my way.  I sound like I started to take the grim reaper personally.  As if he had some ill intentioned manner to come after me, my friends, my life, and leave it drained; it certainly felt that way.  There was Andrew, letters written in blood from states away.  I didn’t take him seriously, who does that kind of thing?  Well he did, ended up permanently damaged and locked away.

Shortly thereafter followed Jon.  He was damaged from the start of our brief engagement.  Scar ridden body I figured he was more into torture than the real thing.  Body half eaten alive by Heroine and who knows what else.  The tragic guitar player I couldn’t escape despite my best efforts.  Until one day I finally did.  Took a new job, moved my things into storage and hit the road.  The phone call to my hotel room late at night as his blood filled the tub.  Did he really want to die?  He lost enough to, but the cops beet the door down and stuffed new blood in the places where he’d emptied out his own.  Several months in a hospital and he never tried it again.  Maybe the blood he was born with wasn’t good enough.  Dead already.  Suffocated him without his knowing and all it took was a quick transfusion to fix him.

With the record of grisly deaths (not The Thing grisly with the spit-drooling dogs; the old black and white version) everyone i come in contact with meats, I am forced to question why anybody would want aught to do with me. Even you, kind reader, you who are perusing this, my gruesome memoir, may well consider suicide after reading only three or four paragraphs. 

Opening: J.R. Moore.....Continuation: Paul Penna

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Face-Lift 1020

Guess the Plot

Playing with Fire

1. Mena's always called 4 year old Rafe the 'devil's own son, and after Rafe sets his 42nd fire at the preschool, toasts the cat on the barbeque, and merrily dances in the exploding fireworks, John is beginning to think a paternity test might be in order.

2. Trapped in an shipping center during a blizzard, plucky warehouse worker Ila Ilsky survives by burning copies of the 7,600 different books already entitled Playing With Fire.

3. What shall we kindle today Mr. Fire?
A marshmallow roast, or a funeral pyre?
This delightful picture book features dozens of games, crafts, and rainy-day projects for ages 5 to 8 all told in verse.
4. A teenaged girl with superhuman power uses it to commit crimes for other people. It's a better way to pick up cash than babysitting--until she gets hired by the guy who murdered her parents. Will she get burned . . . playing with fire?

5. After astronomer Jake Newberg names the killer asteroid about to destroy the world after his ex-wife, she conjures up a fire demon to break the space rock into small chunks that target Jake alone. The entire world watches and places bets.

6. Kieran Keene lands the sax gig with Fire Robinson’s Rock-N-Blues Band. When mutilated groupies are found near the band’s venues. Kieran suspects Fire but hot detective Mary McRae suspects Kieran. He can try solving the mystery and risk being arrested or he can return to second rate bands in third rate clubs.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Seventeen-year-old Pollock Avery can steal anything for anyone. [Either change "can" to "will" or delete "for anyone."] Her electrokinesis allows her to short out security systems with a quick zap, then it’s easy as rolling out of bed to nab an ancient artifact. Since her parents’ murders, the money has kept her and her little sister out of the foster system. [If she just stole money for herself, cutting out the middle-man, she wouldn't need to devote time to selling artifacts to other people.]

When a mysterious new client offers Pollock information about the murders in exchange for stealing exclusively for him, she can’t resist the allure of finally uncovering the killer,

[Client: I know who killed your parents, but rather than inform the police I've kept this information to myself. If you'll commit multiple crimes for me I'll gradually give you clues that will eventually allow you to find the killer.

Pollock: Okay. You seem trustworthy enough.]

and getting her revenge. As the heists get riskier, Pollock’s client grows more deceptive and she learns he wants more than art and jewels…he wants the key to her ability. [So that he can short out electrical systems and risk getting caught while stealing art and jewels? Sometimes it's better to have a middle-man.]

But ending their arrangement won’t be easy.  Even though Pollock manages to slip out of the client's grasp, he gets his hands on her sister.  Now Pollock must face the reality he'll murder her sister just like he did her parents, [Whoa, I missed the part where you revealed that the client is also the murderer.] all to get the secret of their abilities. Killing a murderer won't be as easy as stealing, [That does sound better than "murdering a killer."] but Pollock’s electrokinesis packs a shocking punch.

PLAYING WITH FIRE, a 77,000 word young adult urban fantasy, is a stand alone novel with series potential.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Avery Pollock sounds like a person's name. Pollock Avery sounds like a wealth management company. Besides, she needs a superhero name.

My theory is that the person who wants the stolen goods is safer letting someone else do the stealing, while the person who wants the money is better off stealing money. Presumably, then, the client wants Pollock's power for something besides acquiring stuff. Namely . . . what?

If I'm the client, I would assume Pollock's power is some kind of accident of nature, a genetic mutation. Not a secret that, once revealed, will grant me the same power.

Client: Tell me the secret of electrokinesis or your sister dies.

Pollock: It's easy. You just stick this fork into that electrical outlet.

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Beginning 939

Andromeda Jaunsten was nervous and overwhelmed. She also felt excitement and pure joy, though these emotions didn't belong to her.

 "Come on. It's time."

"I'm not ready," she said.

Wesper Allern had her hand in a firm grip, tugging at it to urge her forward. She refused to move. "We're going," he said.

 "I can't do it. I'm not like you. I don't know how to act around people I don't know."

"Then isn't it time you learned?"

 "Look," she said, pulling her hand free. "I'm socially awkward. You know it, I know it, everyone who's ever met me knows it. I can't help it. I'm literally from outer space. There's no other option than to be awkward."

"You've been using that excuse for years."

"It's a good excuse."

"You don't see me using it."

"You're different."


"You're likable." She rolled her eyes. "I'm just… not."

"I like you," Wesper said. He studied her for a moment, and then smiled. "You don't think that counts, do you?" She didn't answer him, and he took that to mean 'no'. She threw a hesitant glance towards the mass of beautiful teenagers ahead, already huddled together in groups that could certainly do without her.

Well, don't worry about it," Wesper continued. "You're new. Once they get used to you, they'll like you as much as I do."

Space girl still didn't reply. She had her eye on a particularly attractive cheerleader. Before Wesper could stop her, her forked tongue shot out of her mouth, wrapped itself around the cheerleader's neck and hauled her in. A couple of hard crunches and a swallow later, all that was left was a team letter and a pom pom.


Opening: Malin.....Continuation: Anon.

I'm Feeling Old

1000+ Query Face-Lifts, 1000+ Cartoons, 930+ New Beginnings, 147 Book Chats, 180+ Q & As, 2000+ Writing Exercise Results, 6 books, 5750 posts, 850 tweets, Countless Success Stories.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Guess the Title 10

Below are descriptions of six mysteries available at Your job is to figure out which of the given titles belongs to the book. The fake titles were provided by your fellow Evil Minions. Descriptions were taken from Answers at the bottom of the post.

1. When one of A.J.'s celebrity yoga students gets permanently bent out of shape, and another is accused of the crime, A.J. has no choice but to position herself as a sleuth to find the real killer.

Murder or Knot?
Bend Till it Breaks
Death with a Twist
Dial Om for Murder
The Pretzel Murders
Murder by Pranayama

2. Jordan McAllister can't cook her way out of a macaroni and cheese box, but filling in for the culinary reporter at The Ranchero Globe is better than writing personal ads. Her assignment to review the new steakhouse in town is a disaster that ends with her waiter murdered outside her door-with her name and number in his pocket.

High Steaks
Bloody Rare
Liver Let Die
The Ginsu Diaries
Murder, Well Done
Love Me Tenderloin, Love Me Tartare

3. Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson never wanted to be the crazy cat lady, but after Owen and Hercules follow her home, she realizes her mind isn't playing tricks on her-her cats have magical abilities. When the body of elderly Agatha Shepherd is found near Kath's favorite café, she knows Owen's talent for turning invisible and Hercules's ability to walk through walls will give the felines access to clues Kath couldn't get without arousing suspicion.

Cat Nipped
Sleight of Paw
Feline Flatfoots
Meow is for Murder
Magical Mystery Tabbies
Hercules Pawrot Investigates

4. When Stacy discovers Rafe's dead body in the ballroom dance studio she owns, the police suspect her of killing him. To clear her name and save her studio, Stacey teams up with Rafe's estranged cousin from Argentina, Tav, to find the real killer. And if Stacy doesn't watch her step, the killer may make this dance her last.

Three to Tango
Deadly Dancing
Quickstep to Murder
Crazy Like a Foxtrot
It Takes Two to Tangle
Save the Last Death for Me

5. 1963. Elvis Presley is contacted by a former army buddy. Littlejon is serving life in a California penitentiary for the murder of a young actress on the MGM lot and he insists he was framed. Elvis figures that solving the crime is just what he needs to escape all those people making demands of him, both professionally and romantically.

All Shot Up
Kill Me Tender
Blue Suede Clues
Don't Be Clueless
Elvis Takes the Case
The Perp and the Pelvis

6. An assistant librarian and a roving reporter make an unlikely pair as they attempt to solve a chain of murders connected to the town library in this mystery set in a small town in Oklahoma.

Checking Out?
Out of Circulation
Death Stalks The Stacks
The Ochelata Bibliognost
Murder by Dewey Decimal

Answers below.

Fake titles submitted by Faceless Minion, Adele, Angela Robbins, arhooley, PLaF, Mister Furkles, Jo-Ann, kbradley67, Anon, anon, anonymous and Evil Editor.

Actual Titles

Dial Om for Murder
Liver Let Die
Sleight of Paw 
Quickstep to Murder
Blue Suede Clues
Murder by Dewey Decimal

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Face-Lift 1019

Guess the Plot


1. When retired chemist Roger Gusty begins converting his farts into ghosts, his love affair with octagenarian heiress Madeleine Crinkly takes a disturbing new turn. Set in a crumbling mansion, this hair-raising tale literally stinks.

2. Dolores knows she's going to die. That's because she's a Mysta, or "Mystic Sista," one of a sisterhood of urban psychics. Her daughter Rosalie is having trouble accepting the inevitable, so the Mystas take her on a road trip. Psychic revelations ensue.

3. Supermodel "Mysta" starts having memories of a past life as a Valkyrie warrior goddess. Then her friend Kieran declares that he's actually an ancient warrior. Kieran's brother, a Navy SEAL shows up, and both brothers want Mysta. But can she figure out which one of them is possessed by a demon who wants to wreak havoc on mankind?

4. Mystie, a Bostonian with a secret, finally achieves her lifelong dream of becoming a parochial school teacher. But her new career is in jeopardy when her nosy students figure out that Mystie is actually a Mysta.

5. Evil Elf Lysander Farklebean finds true love in a fog when the vaporite maiden Mysta helps him navigate to the Ivy Isle, thereby escaping the clutches of the angry King Comytell, father of the spiteful Princess Pearly, who wants Lysander's head on a platter, because he snatched the golden virginity she was keeping in the cupboard. But how long can the new happiness last?

6. In a nearly empty strip mall, the only occupied storefront is for a laser-tag arena, Mysta. Not much happens there, until smoldering corpses drilled with neat, cauterized holes start piling up in the parking lot.

7. Mysta is the fad of the moment only no one can agree what exactly it is: A drink? A drug? A celebrity? Only Pansy knows it's an invasion from another dimension where mind control satellites, death rays, and fate controlled by astrology are real.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor

An attack by a jilted rock star-turned-stalker nearly kills Supermodel Mysta. After surgery to repair her crushed larynx, she’s sure the drugs [The drugs? "Her painkillers" or whatever would be more specific.] are causing memories of a past life as Myst, Valkyrie warrior goddess.

Until she displays paranormal powers related to this previous existence. ["Until" suggests that she stops believing the drugs are causing memories of a past life as a Valkyrie warrior goddess when she displays paranormal powers. I would expect these powers to confirm that she has goddess DNA.] [Also, what are her powers?]

The assault reunites her with old friend, Kieran Sigard, [Change his name to Koren Sierkegaard.] who assures [her] he is her prior love, the warrior Sigvarðr. [Did he just find this out, or has he been keeping it from her? Did she tell him about her memories before he told her this?

How that conversation went if she told him first:

Mysta: I've been having these strange visions or dreams or memories of myself as a Valkyrie warrior goddess named Myst.

Kieran: I . . . see . . . Hey, guess what, I'm an ancient Icelandic warrior myself. So you have nothing to worry about. Excuse me, I just remembered there's something I need to tell your doctor before I disappear forever.

How that conversation went if she didn't tell him first:

Kieran: I'm glad you've recovered form the attack on your voice box. By the way, I'm the warrior Sigvarðr, your love from a past life.

Mysta: Welcome to Earth. I have just one question. What's that little thing over the "o" in your warrior name?]

She longs for the passion they share–[Who are "they"?] that is until his Navy SEAL brother arrives. Lieutenant Commander Kaelan Sigard [Giving your children two such similar names may not be uncommon, especially if they're twins, but giving two key characters in the same book such similar names is going to cause confusion.] is temptation incarnate, and offers protection when assassination and kidnapping attempts are made. [It's always nice to have a Navy SEAL visiting you when assassins attack. Especially if, in a past life, the Navy SEAL was Thor.] That isn’t the only thing he offers, but his indifference regarding a lasting relationship compels her to keep her distance. He thrives on a challenge, refusing to give up. This sparks a dormant [awakens a latent] rivalry between brothers, mixing a recipe for disaster as [and] they begin a deadly competition to win her. [Define "deadly."]

Unbeknownst to Mysta, a demon is using one of the brothers for its own centuries-old nefarious scheme. [This just keeps getting better.] [Amazingly, this demon with a centuries-old nefarious scheme somehow doesn't seem as out of place as the Navy SEAL.] It blames her for being cast into the underworld, intends to steal her powers, and wreak havoc on mankind. [Can you really steal someone's powers? Powers aren't like false teeth, that you leave in a cup on the bedside table overnight. Ah, research reveals that a supervillain known as The Parasite stole Superman's powers once. And a mythical staff on exhibit in Metropolis had the ability to steal Superman’s powers and transfer them to some evil character. It was up to Batman to locate and rescue Superman. How humiliating for the Man of Steel to have to be rescued by Batman, with his silly toys like his batarangs and bat pellets.]

As the young woman deciphers [investigates] her past, a twist of events causes her present love to [Kieran/Kaelin] become[s] possessed by the very demon she must destroy. [Which brother is her present love?] This heartbreaking challenge [dilemma] could be her unraveling.

MYSTA, my completed paranormal romantic suspense of approximately 92,500 words, is the first in a series where the couple [What couple?] becomes a paranormal investigative team. In book two, while investigating the homicide of a friend’s relative, ties to the underworld are discovered, luring the couple [Mysta and Kieran or Mysta and Kaelan?] into a devastating trap. In book three, Mysta is a month away from delivering their first baby when she is abducted by those who wish to use her, and her child, for evil purposes. [Never mind books 2 and 3 for now. It has series potential is enough.]

My short story, MURDER IN MIDTOWN, has been accepted for an anthology to be published later this year.

Thank you for your creative criticism. I look forward to being publicly ridiculed soon.



At first reading, one could think, Why does this demon think this supermodel is responsible for casting him into the underworld? If you refer to the demon as a Norse demon, and perhaps give it a Norse demon name, it won't sound like an anachronism to those who consider demons a Christian idea. Did she cause the demon to be cast into the underworld? If so, say so instead of saying it blames her. You can say it wants revenge on her for sending it to the underworld.

It's a romance, but I'm not sure who the romantic couple is. It sounds like Mysta wants a lasting relationship with Kaelin and only stays away because he's indifferent. So when the brothers enter into a rivalry for her, Kieran might not want to be involved with her, knowing she has the hots for his brother. Which is why I can't be sure which brother she ends up with. And for some reason you're not telling.

I wasn't thinking Kieran had any interest in Mysta. Is he an old boyfriend or just an old friend?

We can do without the stalker/larynx bit. She doesn't understand why she's experiencing strange visions, but when she develops X-ray vision and super strength there can be only one explanation: she's the reincarnation of a Valkyrie warrior goddess.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Face-Lift 1018

Guess the Plot

Amber Friction

1. Just as the substance amber has the ability to hold a charge, so can Amber Aurora manipulate the electrical energy within her body. Will this power help her become queen of an Alaskan village? It must, or no more females will ever be born. Which could cause friction among the males.

2. Luvsalot is trying to market a new type of organic sex toy. Will the all-natural Amber Friction meet the needs of the increasingly desperate divorced/pagan/hippie/vegan/ dildo demographic? Also, revived ancient bugs rampaging through San Francisco.

3. When a serial killer starts leaving his victims' body parts encased in amber all over the city, Detective Zach Martinez knows two things: the police's geological consultants are also his suspect pool, and he's definitely getting his wife a different semi-precious stone for their anniversary.

4. Amber is desperate (or ‘dispirit’, as she writes it) to be the next publishing billionaire. Her typing is terrible and her ‘spilling’ is ‘worst’. She writes stories about ‘cereal’ killers. ‘Butt’ her ‘friction navels’ are rejected by every agent. “It didn’t grab me.” They write. So Amber grabs them and adds ‘cereal’ killer realism to her next ‘naval’.

5. When Kate Goode dons the mask of Amber Friction, superheroine, she finds herself battling not just criminals but paparazzi, would-be corporate sponsors, and an overbearing mother bent on getting herself some grandkids, even if it means pushing Kate into marrying a mild mannered accountant who may or may not be a supervillain.

6. A bestselling author, attempting to prove that titles don't matter and that her fans will buy her next novel no matter what the title, uses a random word generator to name the book. Her career tanks and she's never heard from again.

7. A hard-hitting look at bias in law enforcement, based on the true story of when my beloved Georgie disappeared and the authorities not only refused to issue an Amber Alert, but actually said to my face, "We don't do that for cats, ma'am."

[Author's note, not part of query: Reason for the title Amber Friction: The modern term "electron" is derived from the Greek word for Amber. Amber was given this name for its ability to aquire [acquire] a charge (like friction from rubbing wool against amber). Aurora has the ability to manipulate the electrical energy within her own body, an ability she slowly learns to control. In a sense, she can aquire [acquire!] a charge, but she doesn't have to drag her socked feet against the carpet to do it.] [If she doesn't have to drag her feet on the carpet, where does the friction in the title come in?] [Is Amber her adoptive family's last name?] For those who aren't familiar with the feet-on-carpet electricity idea, this scene from Family Guy illustrates it.

Original Version

Teenagers don’t usually discover new races. Of course, Aurora Amber doesn’t exactly discover the Terraneans. They find her. [Thus I apologize for using an opening sentence that has nothing to do with anything.]

They rescue her during an attack on her adoptive family's vacation home. Their impenetrable armor and acute sensory perception pique her curiosity. By genetic default, she is the last female capable of becoming the Queen of their Alaskan colony. [Are you implying that there's a male capable of becoming queen?] [Lemme see if I've got this straight. Someone attacks Amber's adoptive family, and she is rescued by members of a new race who discover that she has the genetic makeup to become the new race's queen? Does it go like this:

Terranean 1: Holy crap! Walruses are attacking that Alaskan village vacation home! There might be people inside.

Terranean 2: Fortunately we have impenetrable armor. We must prevent a bloodbath.

Terranean 1: Hello, young lady. I see your family has been slaughtered, but at least we got here in time to rescue you and . . . You know, you look kind of like a Terranean. Mind if we swab your cheek for a DNA test?] Without a Queen, the remaining Terranean women cannot have female progeny. She has six months to declare a warrior who will consummate her reign and rise as King. Otherwise, the colony will hold a blood battle to choose for her.

Aurora is certain she can find a way to escape before then, [Is she a prisoner?] but there may be one Terranean worth staying for. Except Aeron isn’t Alaskan-born, and there are few who would kneel before an outsider. [I love you, but I could never marry you. My new people would never kneel before a Canadian.] Possessing an allure as lethal as Terranean venom, he provides a distraction Aurora can’t afford. Because she wasn’t the only one to walk away from the incinerated remains of her family’s vacation home. [The Human Torch and Electro also survived.]

Being the last female capable of restoring the Alaskan colony may give her the right to be Queen. But it’s also the reason someone wants her dead. [And while killing Aurora Amber might be easy, it won't be easy killing the superhero known as . . . Static Electricity Girl!] Killing the only chance for more women to be born makes no sense unless you're trying to wipe out the race.

Complete at 105,000 words, AMBER FRICTION is a young adult thriller with series potential. A biology and chemistry background has allowed me to utilize science and nature as inspiration for this series. I appreciate your time in considering my query.


Is this set in Alaska on Earth? The idea of a vacation home seems pretty modern unless you're royalty, but these days when a new race is discovered they're usually primitives living on a secluded jungle island, not Alaskans with impenetrable armor and acute sensory perception.

Maybe Amber Aurora would be a better title. It sounds cooler, at least until readers discover that it's just a character's name.

Where does the power to manipulate electricity come in?

This might work better if it began: Amber Aurora is the last hope of the Terranean race. Unless she becomes queen of her Alaskan village, no Terranean women will ever be born again.

This leaves lots of space to get specific about who doesn't want her to become queen, and why, and what she plans to do about it, like touch them and give them shocks.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Beginning 938

"Prepare ye the Way of the Righteous for Satan is at Hand," read the sign lying on the far side of no-man's-land. The surveillance cameras surrounding the demon infestation blinked on and off. Two squads of soldiers began calling machine gun posts on the perimeter. Lieutenant Colonel McFaddis listened to the reports.

"Sir, we traced the glitch to one of our own stepping on a frayed wire," a soldier said. He barely got the words out as heavy machine gun fire echoed across no-man's-land. The stench of death, skunk, feces, and shrieking demon's halitosis filled C&C.

"The Hell you did," McFaddis said. He dashed from the tent to see a twelve-foot tall demon in no-man's-land. During the glitch, a demon broke through one barrier and was in the middle of no-man's-land. The lumbering creature had fast enough reflexes to knock the RPGs to the side and its armor-like scales protected it from shrapnel. It roared at C&C and pointed to McFaddis. McFaddis braced his Ruger Tropical rifle against a stanchion and blasted the demon between the eyes with a .458 Lott. It went down like a dead elephant and dissolved into foul, stinking putty.

McFaddis turned to the soldier. "That look like a glitch to you?"

Sweat formed on the soldier's brow, his eyes wide in the dim light. "Sir, I--I was told--"

"Is that the guard who told you?" McFaddis nodded at a guard nearby.

"Yes sir, he said that--"

"Shut up, Simmons." McFaddis took a step forward before unloading the .438 into the guard. The demon dropped like a dead man into a pool of pink slime.

"Sir, how--how did you know?"

"Back to work, soldier," growled McFaddis. He didn't need any inquisitive soldiers getting close. Not tonight. No, if this crazy plan of Helixartnys had any chance at all, the idiot man-apes must never suspect his demonic nature. Better nip this in the cradle.


The soldier turned. Before he could speak, he was almost cut in half by the blast of the Lott.

"Men!" roared McFaddis, "get that traitor's carcass out of my sight!"

One of the men hesitated. "Traitor, sir? Simmons?"

McFaddis lifted the rifle. The apes weren't making this easy.

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Khazar-khum

Success Story

Dave reports: The story behind New Beginning 868 has been published. Took a while but the wait was worth it...

It was my short story: THE NEW FRANKENSTEIN and was Published in HOSPITAL, an anthology of creepy horror edited by Sean Monaghan.

Available From AMAZON

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Will You Pre-Order an Unknown Book?

Trying to think of new stuff to bring in contributions for the Brenda Novak charity auction, I'm considering:

"Your published book purchased by at least x of Evil Editor's minions! That's right, x of EE's minions have pledged to purchase (or pre-order if it's not out yet) your book! This could be the difference between just getting on the NY Times bestseller list and being number 1 on the list. Between being dropped by your publisher or contracted for another three books. Between writing and flipping burgers.

Obviously no one's gonna spend money to get three extra sales. I need to get enough pledges so that a few writers will think it's worth bidding on. If you'll pledge to buy a book, even if it might turn out to not be your cup of tea, email me. I'll email you in June to let you know what book you're buying. Then you can decide to whom you're giving it as a birthday gift. If there are a lot of you, we might raise a decent sum and make some writer happy.

I could even add to the "prize" that we'll do an online discussion of the book.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Film Noir Friday

Face-Lift 1018

Guess the Plot

Shadows in the Forest

1. Hiking in the forest, Ami finds a box of trinkets. Could each of them be a trophy from some serial killer's thirty-year murder spree? She thinks so. But can she avoid becoming the killer's next victim?

2. TV talking heads say people can’t see the forest for the trees. Nick figures it’s because the canopy creates shadows. So he strings lights in the forest to eliminate them. It irritates nocturnal creatures so much they kill hundreds of people.

3. Attempting to determine whether a tree falling in the forest with no one around makes a sound, philosopher August Pendragon sets up microphones and cameras and waits for a tree to fall. She never actually catches a falling tree on film, but does discover that trees in the forest have no shadows when no one's around.

4. When the body of former Disney kiddie star - turned - singer Amber Wallenski turns up in the trunk of a rental car, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: She didn't get that poison oak rash in a recording studio, and maybe he really needs to talk his youngest daughter out of a Disney singing career.

5. In the great coast redwood forests lives a secret: a society of faeries, who have the chameleon-like ability to blend with their surroundings. When 13-year-old Kai catches DaNaShi in a bird feeder, will their world be exploited--or will he have the best Science Fair exhibit ever?

6. Midnight. Judy the Psychic gets contacted by two kids lost in a forest, being followed by something that makes a big shadow and growls and noisily gnashes its teeth. Maybe a bear. All her kindly henchmen are asleep so Judy sends an evil elf to the rescue.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

With a typhoon raging overhead and a killer somewhere nearby, bound and beaten Ami Sato's certain of only one thing: she must survive.

To recuperate [Whoa. Is she still bound? Is the killer still nearby? What about the typhoon? Doesn't she have to escape from her hopeless predicament before she starts recuperating?] and get her head straight, Ami decides to spend the spring renting a remote cabin in Japan's countryside. [It's a decision she'll be acting on as soon as she manages to untie these ropes.] Here, she forces herself to confront [she confronts] the mistakes she's made in her life. [For instance, wandering alone in the Forest of Typhoons and Serial Killers.] While hiking in the woods, she finds a hidden antique, wooden box of trinkets. One item, a pendant with a name inscribed on the back, catches her eye.

With that pendant and the help of a friend, [How remote can this cabin be if she has a friend nearby?] Ami discovers a [an] unsettling pattern of murders in the area spanning thirty years, souls trapped between life and death, and just how strong her will to live really is. She must overcome her own inner weaknesses before she becomes the killer's next victim. [Is this the same killer she was bound and beaten by? Maybe after she escaped from the killer the first time she should have rented a remote cabin on one of Japan's other islands instead of in the same forest he's been killing people in for thirty years. Just saying.] [What are these inner weaknesses she has to overcome to avoid getting killed? Explain why she can't flee to Tokyo instead of overcoming her inner weaknesses.] At first, all she wants is [wanted was] to get her head straight. Now all she wants - is to keep it. [That's the second time you've used the phrase "get her head straight."]

SHADOWS IN THE FOREST is a 78,000 word mystery with paranormal elements. Per your submission guidelines, I have included [***]


If this is paranormal, more about that aspect would be helpful. I assume the souls trapped between life and death belong to the killer's victims? Although a killer's victims are usually completely dead. Are they zombies?

I'm not clear on the timeline. We open with Ami bound and beaten by a killer. Then she moves to a remote cabin to recuperate, but she's still worried about the same guy killing her? Is the killer human?

Maybe we should start with Ami moving to a remote cabin to meditate on the mistakes she's made in her life, one or two of which you might specify. Then she finds the box, at which point you might specify how this reveals thirty years of murders and souls trapped between life and death. Then the killer captures her (for the first or second time), or she foils him/her/it.

In other words, tell us a story. Right now all we have is a list of events. She moves to a cabin, finds a pendant, discovers a pattern of murders, survives by overcoming her weaknesses. We need elaboration on this stuff. Specific details, cause and effect, ideas building on each other.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Beginning 937

When I got the email I was in my car, cursing the great state of California for putting Algebra on the GED. Wade was thumbing through an old Soldier of Fortune in the passenger seat. In the back was our recording equipment. We had it turned down low, but every now and then a particularly loud moan would echo over the speaker. In other words, a slow Tuesday.

"Such bullshit," Wade muttered and reached for his cigarettes.

"What's bullshit?" I said, holding out my hand.

Wade smacked the box down on my palm. "Well for one thing, the fact you never buy your own."

"Hey, I only smoke to keep you company."

"But what I meant," Wade pressed on. "Was this job. Is bullshit."

"You like this job," I said around the cigarette in my teeth, trying to hold my place in the textbook and light up at the same time.

"Not the job, the job. This job." He waved his hand at Cabin Number 6 of the Lucky Pines Resort. "Surveillance on a housewife? It's goddamn amateur hour out here."

"The client paid extra for an experienced team," I offered without much conviction. Behind us another car swerved into the lot, headlights flashing across the faded beige interior.

"Bull. Shit." Wade sucked in a deep lungful of smoke petulantly. "This is a message from the partners."

"Paranoia is hilarious in a man of your size," I said, my eyes on the rear view mirror. The other car, a late model silver luxury sedan, coasted to a bumpy halt about three feet over the parking lot edge into the tanbark.

"And it's probably for you. What did you fuck up behind my back?"

"That's hurtful.” The sedan driver had half fallen out of his car into the shrubbery and was now trying to wrestle something long and metallic out of the backseat. My phone chimed.

"You gonna get that?" Wade picked his magazine back up. "It's probably Amanda. Explaining how you fucked up."


"Yes, Mal?"

"Isn't that the client?"

Wade snapped his head around to see the man stagger over the sidewalk up towards the Lucky Pines cabins. As he passed under a street lamp, the light glinted off the double barreled shotgun on his shoulder.

"Never mind that," Wade snapped. "What about that email you mentioned in the first paragraph?"

I kept my eye on the man with the gun; did our client have an identical twin? "First paragraph?"

"Happens all the time," Wade said, exhaling smoke at my face. "Authors put some bullshit in the first sentence, trying to hook the reader. Then they don't mention it again for three chapters." Wade laughed, a crazy wheezing sound like an animal dying. "I'M ON TO YOU!" He shook his fist at the heavens.

The man who appeared to be our client had disappeared. "Wade, what are you on about?"

"OUR LIVES ARE WRITTEN BY THE GREAT AUTHOR IN THE SKY!" He collapsed, wheezing, muttering, "I'm on to you..."

I stared at him. My partner was certifiably insane. At least this explained why we'd been given a crappy assignment.

Opening: Sarah Hawthorne.....Continuation: Anon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Face-Lift 1017

Guess the Plot

Vis Decor: Alphi

1. On the planet Vis Decor, the light-skinned race rules the dark-skinned race. Light-skinned teenager Alphi wants to change all that. What sets this apart from similar books is that both races are marine animals!

2. An author's ingenious plan to give her book an incomprehensible title so that curious readers will pick it up backfires, as readers assume it's a mis-shelved Latin textbook and ignore it.

3. When it's time for rock star Alphi to decorate his new penthouse, he goes straight to Judy the Psychic for help choosing a theme. She says pirate shack in orange, olive, and fuchsia. All hammocks, no sofas. What a sensational look! But the guests keep falling off their seats or sliding together in a way that's a little too chummy.

4. The Vis Decor Co. are known as the baddest interior decorators in town. When a new outfit, Alphi Interiors, moves in on their territory, there's only one way to settle this. It's pistols at dawn... but the Alphi crew turn out to be werewolves.

5. Renaldo and his brother Gianni want to expand their posh decorator boutique. When they find runaway Al digging in the dumpster, they befriend him and bring him in. But will the newly-christened "Alphi" be a boon to their business, or will his scheming tear the couple apart?

6. The first in a series of books that teach children the Greek alphabet. To be followed by Vis Decor: Betty, Vis Decor Gumby, and Vis Decor Deli. Alphi, Betty, Gumby and Deli use colorful illustrations depicting items that start with the same letter as their names. Still trying to come up with a character for book 5, Epsilon.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Silence is the best form of censorship. In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, no one speaks [I don't think that has as much to do with censorship as with the fact that when they try to speak their mouths fill up with water and fish.] as the light-skinned Pures rule the dark-skinned Greys. [This is the same plot as Face-Lift 1015 except that the Black-skinned race are now Grey-skinned and everyone's skin looks like prunes.] [By "no one speaks" do you mean no one speaks out?] Only one sixteen-year-old Pure grasps this injustice-- [Even the Greys don't grasp it?] and her innocent call for equality whips her village into a mob. [Equality is fine in theory, kid, but who's gonna do all the menial labor?]

Forced to flee her own home, the only refuge left is her uncle’s –literally—magical city. But even the huge city with all its twirling buildings can’t keep her happy, [Does she have a name?] and her joy is shot dead [What joy? You just said she wasn't happy.] when the President--her uncle--brutally tortures a Grey. [Usually when you've attained the presidency of a place, you delegate the torturing to your underlings. And you don't invite your niece to enjoy the show.] There is no way out, no matter how much she tries to find one -- [A way out of the city? Of her predicament?] until the Grey rebels attack her own family. And when they do, she joins them. [Did they attack the family she left behind or her uncle?]

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who, above all, value her ideas. [Whose ideals she values?] But the declaration of war [Which side declared war?] sends everyone up in arms, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. [Sounds like her uncle has a bigger goal than quashing a rebellion. What is it?] The line between right and wrong has never been so blurred, [When you willingly join a group who are attacking your own family, I'd say you've decided the line between right and wrong is crystal clear.] and neither of her families will be able to guide her through the bloodshed yet to come.

VIS DECOR: ALPHI (118,000) is a completed YA high fantasy with strong series potential. I have been published in two separate editions of A Celebration of Poets.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.



What's it all about, Alphi?

Dump the first sentence; it's not clear what it has to do with anything.

No need to describe the city as "literally magical" if that doesn't come into play in the query. If the Pures have magical powers that's more important to know than that buildings twirl.

Give Alphi's name up front, and focus on her from start to finish.

Is skin color the only difference between Pures and Greys? Instead of light and dark, make them dolphins and porpoises.

Is the uncle president of the city? Country? Planet?

The rebels aren't gonna trust the president's niece to the extent that she has the power to alter the course of a planetary war. (Unless they threaten to kill her if the president doesn't meet their demands.) Is this just a city of haves vs. villages of have-nots situation like in The Hunger Games? Or is it a major war?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Face-Lift 1016

Guess the Plot

Suicide City

1. A fifteen-year-old girl, tired of slopping the pigs, leaves her family farm for the big city. There she meets Reese, who is an apathetic male prostitute, recovering heroin addict and cutter who sleeps on a cardboard mattress under a bridge. Romance ensues.

2. When a gloomy churlish lad asks Judy the Psychic for directions to Suicide City she gives him a feathered cap and an envelope full of magic beans and puts him on the next bus to Oz.

3. As Detroit recalls its days as a motor and music Mecca in the 1960s, and its plummet to mean streets and economic failure in the 21st century, it realizes it has nothing to live for and implodes.

4. Kristina operates a suicide prevention clinic in Vilnius, Lithuania, suicide capital of the world. When she finds clues that several suicides were murders, she investigates and finds a ring of former KGB agents plotting to make Vilnius the biggest drug distribution center in Europe.

5. In a futuristic world, all people over the age of seventy-five are expected to report to Suicide City and take their own lives. It's a system that has worked for centuries, keeping medical costs and population down. But now a feisty old man named Harry has failed to show up for his suicide. This isn't going to go well.

6. Reporter Keirsten Pollus is developing a series of articles on the high suicide rate in Las Vegas. She sees too many similarities in the suicide notes; it can’t be coincidence. Aided by her uncle Jack, a retired homicide detective she uncovers an organized crime syndicate that sells murder and makes it look like suicide.

Original Version

Fifteen-year-old runaway, August Bailey, is ready for a new life full of freedom and adventure. At least in the big city her mother can’t treat her like slave labor, [Her? I don't see what's gained by giving your female main character a guy's name. January, April, May, June and December are fine names for a female fictional character. August is the only month we guys get, and we're keeping it.] prevent her from dating, or slap her face ever again. And there are no stinking pigs to slop.

When August meets Reese, a seventeen-year-old street kid with electrifying blue eyes and disarming charisma, she is instantly infatuated and drawn into his world.

Reese, a recovering heroin addict and cutter, reveals with casual detachment that he has sex with men for cash. August is shocked by his apathy toward most everything - except her. She breaks down the emotional walls he has built and they form a bond like neither has ever known. He becomes her guide to the streets, her protector, and her lover. [This is better than slopping pigs how?]

The reality of August’s new life hits hard and fast. Home is a cardboard mattress under a bridge. She may have to sell her body just to eat. When they find a member of Reese’s street family dead with a needle in her arm, August almost runs back to the farm. But Reese doesn’t belong in the country. And she refuses to live without him.

When Reese reveals a long-kept secret of the abuse he’s suffered and the truth about his mother’s death, August is convinced her love can save him. But she has to hurry - because Reese may have nowhere left to run.

SUICIDE CITY is adult fiction, [Those few adults who want to read about a fifteen-year-old runaway's romance with a seventeen-year-old street person can buy the book, even if it's published as YA.] a tragic love story, complete at 61,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration.


I sympathize with your characters, but unless one of them has a hidden talent I don't know about, I don't see that anything interesting is going to happen to them. (If something remarkable happens, say so.) August may save Reese from suicide, but if they're still living miserable lives, who will want to read about them? Isn't there some way they can rescue a generous billionaire from a werewolf?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Face-Lift 1015

Guess the Plot

Black and White

1. A history of the newspaper industry and its fall from black and white and read all over to black and white and red all over.

2. After numerous demonstrations and complaints from the NAACP and White Anglo-Saxon activists about his divisive song titles, presidential front-runner Michael Jackson decides to re-record his hit single "Black or White."

3. After crushing his witchy opponent, chess genius Filbert Daggleson indulges in wild celebration. In the morning he's black and white all over. Not checkered, more like plaid. Now he must find the witch and get her to lift this curse, or else look like an idiot forever.

4. Pakistani Sayeed Kamila, a frustrated cab driver, quits his job with Yellow Taxi and starts his own company, Black and White Taxi. Starting with one cab, he builds a taxi empire but ultimately goes bankrupt and ends up driving a Checker cab.

5. On a world with two races (Flyons, who are white, and Dhellions, who are black), a race war has lasted for centuries. Then a God shows up and decrees that everyone must play nice together or die. The killing stops as the Flyons and Dhellions unite in an effort to get rid of the God.

6. It's the biggest long shot in history when a zebra is entered in the Kentucky Derby--until jockey Louie Falcone replaces all the thoroughbreds' water with vodka.

Original Version

[Note: the author couldn't decide which character's POV to focus the query on, so there are two versions here.]

Dear Evil Editor,

Fallen, an eighteen-year-old Dhellion, wishes his father would leave him alone. The ghost has been following him for ten years, saying he needs a Flyon named Zata dead before he can rest in peace.

Just when Fallen finds her, a celestial being named Auris appears. Claiming to be a God, Auris bans killing, ending the centuries-long war between Flyon and Dhellion. Fallen isn't sure what a God is, but disobedience means death by lightening, [Interesting. I take it Dhellions are black, and they die if they get lightened? And Flyons are white and they die when darkened?] so killing Zata will have to wait.

Not wanting to lose track of her, Fallen sticks to Zata like a shadow. She's bound by the God's rules, too, so all she can do is grit her teeth and try to ignore him – something Fallen delights in making as difficult as possible. [Do these people ever sleep? She ought to be able to lose him at some point.] But the longer he's with her, the more she seems, well, normal, and a lot more likeable than any Flyon should be. [And the more he seems, well, annoying, and a lot less likeable than any Dhallion should be.]

Auris continues making Decrees, [No calling each other the R word or the Q word, or it's death by dyeing.] forcing Dhellions and Flyons to play nice, live interspersed and talk to each other – or die. Fallen obeys, until he learns the God plans to marry off Flyons and Dhellions, then re-distribute all the children to “save the next generation” from their parents' racism. The entire planet wants the God gone and their freedom back. Mortals can't hurt Auris, but Fallen's father says he might be able to drag the God to the farthest corner of the universe and hold it there. Maybe.

But before he tries, he wants Zata dead. [Why?]

BLACK AND WHITE is a 69,000-word standalone YA fantasy novel with series potential. It is told from the perspectives of Auris, Fallen and Zata.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!


Dear Evil Editor,

The rules in Zata's world have always been simple: Flyons kill Dhellions on sight, and vice versa. She's spent years training for the day she's old enough to fight on the front lines. But when she catches a Dhellion named Fallen sneaking around, Zata can't bring herself to kill him.

Then a god named Auris appears and bans killing. Zata isn't sure what a god is, but anyone to disobey Auris's rules is fried by lightning. To complicate matters more, Fallen decides to hang around.

No matter what Zata does, she just can't get rid of him. The more time Zata spends with Fallen, the more he seems, well, normal. Maybe even likeable – no, that's going too far. After all, everyone knows Dhellions are monsters.

Auris's rules grow increasingly restrictive, controlling everyone's actions, speech and lifestyles. Zata grits her teeth and obeys – until she learns the God plans to marry off Flyons and Dhellions, and re-distribute children to “save the next generation” from their parents' racism.

The God has to go, but Zata's training didn't cover killing immortals. Besides, if Auris leaves, Flyons and Dhellions will start fighting again. [If that's true, it seems the experiment is over. The races won't get along unless the alternative is death, and the marriage/redistribution plan is the way to go.] That means no more Fallen - which, Zata keeps reminding herself, is what she wants. Isn't it?

BLACK AND WHITE is a 69,000 word standalone YA fantasy with series potential. It is told from Fallen, Zata, and Auris's perspectives.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!

[Authors note to EE: the novel is called Black and White because Dhellions are black and Flyons are white. And the main characters start out seeing things in black and white - both literally and figuratively.]


If I had to choose I'd go with the second version. It's clearer.

Maybe the races should be purple and green. It might seem slightly less heavy-handed. Probably not. Either way, teens aren't going to go for something this obvious. In fact, if it were a childrens' picture book with kittens and puppies the kids would say, Just tell a story and quit with the moralistic symbolism.

This is the same plot we did last year in Face-Lift 934.

This would be better if it were an alternate history set on Earth in which black Africa developed advanced transportation and weaponry first and conquered Europe, and the races have been at war ever since.

Have you tried a query from Auris's POV?

What you have is a Romeo and Juliet story. The query, like the book, needs to focus on Romeo and Juliet, not the Montagues and Capulets.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The 3rd Annual Evil Editor Charity Auction

Each year Evil Editor holds a charity auction in conjunction with the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research, which begins on May 1. Although I provide numerous items to the Brenda Novak auction, there are always a few that they decline or that I feel are inappropriate for them. Here's an advance look at items I'll be offering this year in the Evil Editor Auction.

Name a character in your book Evil Editor

Change the name of any character in your book, whether it be a murder mystery, a horror/slasher book, or a historical romance, to Evil Editor! (No lit-fic, please.)

An Evaluation of Your Book's Title

Evil Editor will run your book's title by his minions, who will explain that it doesn't make them want to pick up the book, has been used by too many other authors, or simply sucks--but that it doesn't matter because the publisher will change it anyway.

Wake Up With Jesus

Get a good night's sleep for a change, knowing Jesus will be in your bed when you wake up. Evil Editor will arrange for Jesus (or someone resembling Jesus) to be in your bed when you wake up.

Reminisce about Evil Editor over Lunch

You and one other person will meet for lunch at a restaurant of your choosing and have a lively conversation about Evil Editor. Share your impressions, brag about your contributions to the blog, enjoy a hearty meal.

Transportation, meal and gratuity are the responsibility of the winning bidders.

An Evaluation of Your Font

Used to be courier was the default. Then Times muscled in. Now anything readable goes, but you are the worst person to decide if a font you love is readable. And Evil Editor is the best.

Take Evil Jr. to Dinner

You get to grill Evil Jr. about EE while treating him to dinner at his favorite grille.

Evil Jr. guaranteed to show up, but not to be truthful.

ARC of the Covenant

An Advance Rapture Coffer for those who want a look at what awaits. Winning bidder opens at their own risk.

An Evaluation of Your First Word

by Evil Editor, the world's most famous editor. EE has rejected more manuscripts after the 1st word than he can count. Among these first words were "Irregardless," "Eventually," "Bivouac," and "Archau'tnau." Don't risk a 1st-word rejection.

This is an evaluation of your work, not a complete line edit. Winning this read does not guarantee a sale.

The Filling of Two Plot Holes

The last thing your career needs is some snarky book reviewer saying your romance novel has plot holes the size of Hudson Bay. Evil Editor will fill in any two plot holes in one of your novels.

No novelizations of summer blockbuster movies, please.

Click label below for a look at previous years' auction items.