Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by danielsmi » September 2nd, 2010, 3:20 pm

Title: Cameron Kincaid and The Perfect Treasure
Genre: Thriller

The man’s eyes were wide, his face flush. “Come quick!” he said. “There’s a guy in trouble in here. I think he’s having a heart attack or somethin’.”
“What, um, I’ll get the maitre d’,” said the waiter.
The man had stuck his head out of the bathroom door right as Gerard was walking passed.
“There’s no time. This guy’s not looking so good. You’d better come right now.”
Gerard took a step toward the door, then stopped and flashed a gaze around the dining room to flag the maitre d’. He spotted the maitre d’ across the room, facing the other direction.
Gerard pursed his lips.
“C’mon,” said the man.
Gerard reached up and pushed the door open wide enough for him to step through. His private party was already annoyed with him, and now they would have to wait.
“Where is he?”
“In the last stall.”
Gerard put his tray on the long counter and walked to the stall. When he opened the door, all he saw was a large black duffel in front of the toilet.
“There’s nobody in trouble in here.”
“Sure there is,” said the man. He slapped Gerard on the back of the neck.
Gerard reached up to his collar. “What the hell,” he said. He pulled at the large band aid the man had placed there. His fingers could not lift the edge and his skin moved with the fabric as he tugged. Gerard started to turn and then sank into the man’s arms.
Last edited by danielsmi on September 16th, 2010, 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by gaijinmama » September 3rd, 2010, 10:27 pm

Title: Home Base
cross-over MG/YA novel
word count - 237

This necktie is choking me. And these pants, they’re what – polyester? Jamal and Rico would be laughing if they saw me now. But they’re in Atlanta, on the other side of the world, probably asleep. No more stone-washed jeans and sweatshirts for me, at least not on a school day. No more polo shirts and khakis. At Tokushima High School, here in The Boondocks, Japan, I’ve gotta wear a jacket to school.
Okay, so I was born in Japan, I know the drill. When I was in elementary school I had to dress like a Prussian soldier. But for the past three years, while my father was on overseas assignment for the robotics company that puts rice on our table, things have been pretty relaxed. I’ve forgotten how to be Japanese.
If I’d had my say, we would have stayed. Otosan could have gotten his posting extended, but my parents were worried about my grandfather.
“Why can’t he come live with us in America?” I asked. I thought of Jamal’s grandma who moved from Alabama to live with his family, and Rico’s grandfather who lives in a facility for the elderly where a four star chef prepares all the meals and the residents gather once a week for Wii bowling. “If Ojiisan doesn’t know where he is or who he’s with, what difference does it make?”
But my father snapped his newspaper and said, “Show some respect.”

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Joined: September 4th, 2010, 2:46 am

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by katehyde » September 4th, 2010, 2:53 am

Title: The Vestibule of Heaven
Genre: "Book club" fiction
Word count: 250

I knew her, of course, the first time she came to the house; one of the advantages of being dead is the ability to see beneath the surface.
When I willed the house and all its contents to her, I hadn’t ever seen her, not in all the thirty years since she first slipped into the world; all I had was her first name, Kelly, and one faded Polaroid picture of her at about a year old. I knew she had June Rose’s red hair and Victor’s green eyes; beyond that she just looked like a baby, like they all do at that age.
I gave the lawyers a copy of that picture, but I didn’t have much hope they’d ever be able to find her. But I wasn’t counting on the angels. I think they helped. At any rate, eventually—I don’t keep track of time any more; could have been a week, could have been years—the lawyers found her, and she came. My granddaughter came to me at last.
When I made that will, I only thought of her—that I could maybe give her something to make up to her for everything she’d lost, a piece of the family she’d never had. I never expected to be around even to see how it all worked out. But things are different on the other side from what I’d thought, and it looks like my leaving her the house was a pretty important thing for me as well.

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Joined: September 4th, 2010, 9:39 am

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by avillasante » September 4th, 2010, 9:54 am

Title: Death Hires an Assistant
Genre: Fiction

Death was running late. And his shoes were wet.
The driving April rain made taxis scarcer than usual. A few on the road, glowing yellow like beacons, would not stop or slow no matter how desperately you needed a ride. Except for Death. Taxi drivers, taunting drenched pedestrians with their OFF DUTY signs, saw Death and fumbled to switch the sign off, slowing down to try and look enticing. Taxis long to stop for Death.

Finally, the right taxi coasted to a stop in front of Death. The driver rolled down his ancient window and smiled.

“Going uptown, sir? Or to the Airport?” He hoped the guy was going to go to the airport. There would be lots of traffic and weather related delays.

”Just across town, thanks.” The cabbie’s smile fell.

As Death waited, the previous occupant of the cab disgorged himself. This was difficult due to the width of the door, the width of the gentleman’s waist and the bulk of the luggage he had with him.

”Is this the Marriot, mate?” said the round man with the plum-shaped English accent.

”It certainly is. Can I help you with that bag?”

So Death played bellhop to the blond Englishman, helping him with his bag and keeping him dry with his extra large, impermeable umbrella.
As Death climbed into the cab, the Englishman found he was holding the other man’s umbrella. He called to Death as the cab pulled away, ”Hey! Your brolly, mate!”
”That’s all right. You keep it.” Inside the cab, the cabbie was trying to figure out the longest way he could reasonably take to get his fare to Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Joined: September 4th, 2010, 2:21 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by EAKSummers » September 4th, 2010, 3:14 pm

Title: The Codifying

Genre: Literary/slightly Sci fi

It should have been a coffee house, and perhaps in 2001 it was a coffee house of some sorts, but today it only looks a mess: mounds of dust on broken boxes of board games, VHS, CDs and hard back jacket covers serving as a bookmark for the overbite; the gap for the dissemination. The counter: only useful during the exchange of plaster molds of affiliate products. The tables should possess some semblance of a circuit—an expectation of flow and form; possibly shape depending on the seated T-Shirt wearers, but most are unaware of the concept of proper shape in relation to the space vs. power relationship--after all, the T shirts are graphics of block letters, images of bass drums and vertical stripes between dueling images—but the kids have issues with squares, boxes and have been told of the homosexual properties of triangles. Vintage is stylish, but this vintage only pertains to an idea of the retro in coordination with retroactive coolness. In this place, doorknockers are present in earlobes; bruising visible on the side of the neck, skinny jeans have revived the reverse order of the bellbottom: the junk and calves exchanging the denim’s constriction. The fashion: an explosion of layers of shapes: colors dancing; bright pinks, blues, yellows, but the jackets are always fitted—3/4th sleeve, either vinyl or a variation of leather, but monochromatic in the base—shiny whites and reds; black is prohibited in the category of outerwear—and the shapes of color create a juxtaposition against the base color and length discrepancy between sleeves and bottom, but there is coordination in the hairstyles: voluminous and asymmetrical, dyed a natural shade, creating the ability to deny the artificial, but the jeans are gray and black; the whole look is a combination of the disheveled, artificial, stylized, Bohemian, Couture, retro and new wave: nothing new, but this is not a coffee house.
Last edited by EAKSummers on September 6th, 2010, 9:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by epcaldwell » September 4th, 2010, 5:56 pm

Return In Snow:
Genre: Romance suspense with a touch of paranormal
Pamala Owldreamer:

Symon Branigan, the only man she had ever loved was the last man on earth Caitlin Caldwell O’Brian wanted to see and the only man she wanted to see. Just her luck, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Waving goodbye, Caitlin shoved through the door of the town’s only grocery store. She pause outside as the frigid air hit her. “Jesus.” she hissed. The temperature must have dropped twenty degrees in the half hour it took to shop.
Glancing up at the low clouds heavy with snow, tiny worry lines crinkled her smooth forehead. This storm was going to be a real blue norther with heavy snow, strong winds, and sub-zero temperatures. Definitely, time to get home, re-check the wood supply for the fireplaces, double check the fuel in the generators, make sure the snowmobile is plugged in, and police the outside of the house again for anything that could blow around in the gale force winds. Double checking was a must. She loved Rook Haven, but winter storms could turn deadly in a heartbeat. They were even more dangerous if you lived alone.
Painful memories, quick and hot, pricked her chest, tightened her throat. Since Grams and Danny died in a car crash only a few weeks after Mom died, she was alone on the farm.There was no one else to rely on. Symon should have…hell no, she wasn’t going down that path again. What could have been and should have been, had no bearing on what is.
Caitlin shivered as small pellets of ice stung her face. Shifting the heavy shopping bag filled with powdered and fresh milk, eggs, fruit and fresh produce, higher on her shoulder, she tucked her chin close to her chest to escape a blast of frigid wind.
If the storm was as bad as predicted, she could be snowed in for days. The local weather expert and resident witch, Miss Ella Brodie, predicted blizzard conditions by late afternoon with two to four feet of snow on top of the three feet already on the ground. Miss Brodie was seldom wrong.
Head down, concentrating on keeping her footing on the ice, Caitlin, collided with a tall figure, lost her balance and fell backward. Strong arms caught her and kept her from landing on her butt.
Laughing, she took a small step backward and tilted her head up to thank her rescuer.
“I’m so sorry. Thank you for….The smile froze on her face. She didn’t think about it, didn’t plan it. She just reacted. Like a slow motion sequence in an action movie, her hand curled into a fist and swung out and upward, connecting with Symons grinning face and rocking his head backward.
Overbalanced, she pitched forward and fell against his broad chest. Maybe it was to keep her from falling or maybe it was in self-defense. Either way, she ended up crushed against his lean muscled body with his arms wrapped around her again.
Caitlin was frozen for a minute or maybe it was hours, as shocked at what she had done as she had been to see him standing in front of her. She had never punched anyone in her life, until now. Righteous anger shoved the shock aside as she struggled against his iron hard grip.
Symon grimaced, wiped the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand, and held onto Caitlin. His green eyes locked with her angry blue. “Some welcome home, Slim.”

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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by WriterPerson » September 6th, 2010, 5:19 am

Title: Perfection Bytes
Genre: Commercial Fiction

The day I first met the genie, the lark was not on the wing, the snail had crept away from the thorn, and all was certainly not right with the world.

I swiped in at reception at ten am (the break of dawn by my standards), and slammed headlong into a hulking colleague. My head struck his formidable chest and my leather tote slipped down onto the marble floor of the lobby.

‘Ow!’ I said, rubbing two fingers across my sore temple as I stooped to pick up my bag.

‘Oh, Nilisha. Did I trip you?’

I jerked my head up. I knew that voice. It grated on my nerves. ‘Get lost, Vik!’

‘So, have you geared up for closing down Project Armada?’

He lit up a cigarette right there in the lobby, five feet away from the ‘No Smoking’ sign.

‘No, why would I? We haven’t even delivered it to the clients yet. Priya and her team are still testing it for defects.’

‘Oh!’ he said, creasing his lips into a fake smile. ‘Sorry, I thought you knew.’

‘Knew what?’

‘Nothing,’ he said. ‘See ya!’

He ambled out, winking back at Shirin the receptionist as he passed. What was he talking about? How could Armada close? The users hadn’t even set eyes on it.

Shirin said, ‘Nilisha, Ajay was looking for you.’

‘Oh god, what is it now?’

‘Maybe he wants to slip you some good news about the Whizkid of the Year award,’ she said, her eyes twinkling.

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Joined: September 7th, 2010, 9:43 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Solly » September 7th, 2010, 9:51 pm

Title: Unknown
Genre: Post-apocalyptica fiction

The day started like every other day. The ringing of my alarm clock quickly brought me from my slumber with no chance of bargain or remorse. As usual, I angrily slapped the snooze button and stuffed the clock under my pillow. A tactic which had caused me to oversleep on many occasions throughout the years.

Somewhere between the first alarm and the five subsequent alarms I decided it was time to get up. Eyes half closed and brain barely working, I made my way to the shower. The hot shower quickly worked its tricks and I was singing a random verse of my favorite song for the day before I had even reached for the shampoo.

The routine was all the same. Wake up. Shower. Shave. Get dressed into my uniform. Eat. Go to work. Nothing was different- nothing to indicate it would be the last night of work. In passing I casually said goodnight to Brian as I made my way to my already started truck.

Brian and I had become roommates before moving to Alaska, back when I lived in Washington D.C. Having lived with each other for the first eighteen years of our lives, plus the nearly ten months sharing a womb, it was a pretty comfortable arrangement.

The drive into work revealed nothing new compared to the countless other times I had made the commute. Red light here, crazy driver there, random obscenities made between verses of whatever was playing on the radio.

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Joined: August 27th, 2010, 12:41 pm

Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by ReenaJacobs » September 8th, 2010, 2:39 pm

Title: College Rock
Genre: Young Adult
Word count: 250

Music blared throughout the house at full blast--Pretty People by Dexter Freebish. Yep, that pretty much summed it up. They surrounded me. Only thing, I didn't want to be like them. Sometimes I was just so tired of the games the so-called "pretty people" played. Yet here I was, the girl hiding in a corner, decorating a wall.

Already peopled had consumed enough alcohol to loosen inhibitions but not enough to send them puking over the balcony. It'd get there though. I'd been to enough of these parties to know it was only a matter of time. It’d start with the guys in the kitchen guzzling beer bongs. Or maybe one of the sluttier chicks hanging off to the side laughing and cheering them on. Here and there, a ditzy girl would join in and make a mess of her outfit. The whole thing was stupid. No doubt they'd regret it in the morning.

So why was I here?

The answer pushed through the crowd-- Seth. My BFF since I'd saved him from a beatdown in the first grade. Well, actually, I'd bitten the girl's arm who’d bullied him. Nothing like a nip to send a kid crying. I'd gotten in trouble but earned a forever friend in the process.

Seth was one of the "pretty people." Sandy blond hair, green eyes, six foot, and a rising star on the baseball team--he was what girls wanted and knew it.

I, on the other hand, was just his sidekick.

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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by mmcdonald64 » September 9th, 2010, 12:20 pm

Title: Tested
Word Count: 310
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Sam Brennan tossed back his fifth shot. As the heat of the alcohol burned down to his belly, the numbing effects spread like a warm blanket. He poured another, held the glass at eye level and admired the flickering of the fireplace flames through the amber liquid. Beautiful. He downed it in one long gulp, hardly tasting the bite anymore.

A log popped sending a shower of sparks swirling up the chimney. Whose idea was it to build a fire anyway? It was too damn cheery. Sam flung the shot glass at the flames, feeling a measure of satisfaction at the explosion of glass against the back wall.

"Sam? Is everything okay?"

He turned to find Cynthia regarding him with concern. She dried a pink bowl as she spoke. A few hours ago, the bowl had held some kind of macaroni salad. The 'guests' had raved over it between offering their condolences.

He was sick of everyone's concern. Sick of holding it together. Sick of being strong. "Everything is just peachy, don'tcha think?"

"Why don't you come back to our house tonight? Stay a few days until--"

"Until what? Until I get over this?" He stalked towards her, but stopped short when she flinched. Even through the shroud of alcohol, he recognized her good intentions.

"No, of course not." She tossed the towel over her shoulder and held the bowl in front of her, hugging it against her stomach. “I just don’t think you should be alone tonight.”

He felt like a first class heel. Dave and Cynthia had taken care of the details he couldn't face.

"Dave's missed you. You're his best friend."

"Yeah." Good old Dave. The guy who has everything. A beautiful wife, two adorable children, and a home full of laughter. It was the last place on Earth Sam wanted to be tonight.

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RaeLynn Fry
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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by RaeLynn Fry » September 9th, 2010, 2:31 pm

Title: The Heir, 259 words
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Author: RaeLynn Fry

Spain 1374
Thomás Castillo’s wracked body lay on the ground a shivering, disgusting mess. He had no idea how many days it had been since his visitor had left him in this state. All he could focus on was the pain coursing through his veins and the fire consuming him from the inside. He had an unquenchable thirst that burned his throat arid as the sands of the desert; it was an ache he couldn’t ignore--the insatiable need for blood.
Thomás lay on the dirt floor of his home while he prayed and cried. Ignorant of the change overtaking his body and soul, the stranger’s words echoed ceaselessly through his mind: The Lord will not touch you now. You are forsaken.
He never should have opened that door.
The whispers had started during the night three weeks earlier, soft words grazing his ear. Each morning Thomás awoke with tantalizing memories of what had been said and shadows of images he had been shown, yet he couldn’t remember the whispers in their entirety. Somehow, he knew God was trying to give him a message, and he tried with desperation to pull the words from his subconscious. Weeks had passed with the same fleeting message just out of his grasp so he decided to fast and pray in hopes to gain insight.
After three days with no food, sleep, or answers, he broke his fast for a night of fitful sleep. The whispers came again--stronger--threading through his mind like a languid snake, slithering through his thoughts and dreams.

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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Terriane » September 9th, 2010, 4:12 pm

Title: The Beginning of Everything: Trevelton Heir Series Book One
Genre: YA Fantasy

The attic had the shape of a lopsided pyramid; the roof leaned more to the left. The scents of flowers, freshly mowed grass, and vomit mingled in the air. On the right side of the obtusely-slanted attic sat an oak wardrobe and several boxes labeled RANDOM STUFF FROM OLD HOME in bold, black marker. Positioned in front of the boxes and wardrobe, directly across from an oval-shaped window, hid something twelve-feet-high-by-six-feet-wide beneath a floor-length, floral-patterned sheet. The mystery object, the boxes, and the wardrobe all barricaded the entrance. On the other side of the attic and beneath the window, a teenage, Black girl was dragged from the blissfully blank void of a dreamless sleep.

The muscles in her stomach twisted violently. Knees clutched to chin relieved no pain because the feelings only ebbed between those with nausea and those without.

“Momma!” she pleaded, “Daddy!” It sounded foolish to cry out for parents.

The girl spent twenty minutes trying to convince her stomach it really was empty. As she heaved between shallow breaths, tendrils of inky, sweat-matted hair stuck to her forehead and to the side of her neck. The teen peered around the attic. The only thing she recognized was the puke that puddled in browns and yellows less than an inch from her face.

“Come on—,” she couldn’t remember her own name, “um, um, Girl, get a grip. It’s just a mild case of the cramps, nothing to faint over.”

Michael Clutton
Posts: 21
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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Michael Clutton » September 10th, 2010, 11:35 pm

JUICE: Revolution

Now, a gentle breeze joined forces with a streetlight a hundred yards away to blanket the old Victorian in wavering shadows. Night sounds consisted of little more than the crickets and katydids. It would have been – should have been – peaceful, if not a bit ominous.

The rapid thumping of my own heartbeat pounded in my ears and shocked disbelief kept my eyes locked on that crumpled body a few feet away. I squinted through stinging tears and my brow pushed together in a contemplative reflex.

Appalled, my jaw fell slack as shifting moonlight separated the shadows to reveal a hulking form just behind my friend’s prone corpse. The bald man in a tight blazer was on his feet again. It was the one my brain referred to as Delivery Man. The repulsive ogre who had attacked me without provocation.

And somehow my brain deduced that he had killed my friend. A friend trying to rescue me from his deadly intentions, which put the resulting murder squarely in my blame column.

Even in the swinging shadows, I could see the dark moisture that covered Delivery Man’s right arm – starting just above the elbow – down to the dripping fingers curled around a ten inch section of limp spinal column. A ghastly remnant of the slaughter performed just moments ago. Strings of gelatinous fluid stretched between his gory trophy and a puddle of goop forming in the grass.

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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by slavandria » September 11th, 2010, 10:34 am

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Last edited by slavandria on January 2nd, 2011, 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Post by robbina2 » September 11th, 2010, 3:25 pm

Title: Skin Games: The Con Way
Genre: short story
(250 words)

Honest. Con never tricked anyone. He just let people fool themselves. Wasn’t his problem if they didn’t bother to look his book past the cover, find out who he actually was. It was obvious they were enamored with whatever their idea of him was. Hell, he was just trying to make do, survive, and sometimes that rested on someone being a poor judge of character.

Con was up to no good tonight, as he stood buck-naked in his motel room, dryin’ out after a steamy, hot shower. He reached in his duffel bag, grabbed up somethin' and gave it a sniff just to make sure it smelled clean—it did. He unrolled his clothes onto the sagging mattress. His Hanes were brand new—them kind that those underwear models wore on the billboards, not ‘cause Con cared what he put on his ass necessarily, but because the ladies liked those snug boxer brief sorts.

He slipped into his favorite pair of jeans: the knees burnished thin—soft, the thighs broke in just right, weathered by experience, the back pockets sporting small fringed holes as if Con had pointed his Colt Python and shot 'em right in the ass end. Wasn’t no accident these jeans showed off his ass end, which Con had been told by a Tulsa woman was, “the finest she’d ever laid eyes on.” Must-a been the same for her hands, too, cause she’d dug into Con real good when he made her scream out the lord’s name.


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