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

Posted: May 6th, 2021, 9:49 pm
by Melisssgissy
Title: I’m Sober... So Now What? A Journey of Hope and Healing

Genre: Non-Fiction

First 250 words-

Chapter 1 My Name is Melissa and I am an alcoholic

My dance in and out of the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) rooms started with attending meetings with a boyfriend over two decades ago. He was ready to admit that he was powerless over alcohol and that his life had become unmanageable. I was smitten with him but I had no intentions of joining his journey. I was just there to be with him and support him. I wasn’t powerless over alcohol, not in my mind anyway. “I have Italian and Irish genes; we just like to drink”, I would always say.

I came from a family that had several functional alcoholics. Alcohol was served at just about any gathering I attended, including church, and most of my friends and coworkers throughout my life drank heavily. Most social events would start with “pre-gaming” as we would call it and carried all the way through until I was usually puking or passing out. Then the next day we would all put the pieces together of the night before and have a good laugh at our shenanigans, usually while partaking in “the hair of the dog that bit us”. If a dinner had ended and someone was leaving the table with alcohol remaining in their glass, I would down it and say something clever like “waste not, want not” or “let me help you get your money’s worth” or “it’s five o’clock somewhere”.

That level of drinking was normal to me. In my mind I wasn’t in trouble like the boyfriend was.

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

Posted: June 19th, 2021, 2:18 pm
by pabrown
Title: Gabriel's Fire
M/M Romantic suspense

Some people just deserve to die. Gabe found that out early in life that god made mistakes.
His mother lit into him before he even finished his late breakfast.
Gabriel Rios refused to look up from his cold cereal, when she curtly told him, “You’ll get a real breakfast when you get out of bed before noon.”
Never mind he’d been studying until two for an exam on Monday. Instead, he kept his gaze down on the pages of his current textbook, Quantum Field Theory.
“I like Cheerios,” he muttered. “Though sometimes it would be nice to have Captain Crunch.”
“Sometimes I don’t think you want to be part of this family anymore.” Relentlessly stirring the pot of champurrado simmering on the stove top, she frowned at him. The cloying smell of cinnamon and chocolate filled the kitchen. “It’s Thanksgiving. I’d think you’d want to spend today at home with your family instead of out cavorting with your friends. What would your father say?”
“They’re not friends,” he finally said. “They’re classmates and we’re studying for Fischer’s exam.” He wanted to say the guy was a ball breaker, but that would get him grounded for the next decade, even though he was twenty. Instead, he muttered, “And father would say he wanted me to go to college and have a better life than he had.”
“There is nothing wrong with the life we gave you!”
“Don’t you dare talk about my papa that way!” Maggie, his bratty fourteen-year-old sister had to chime in.

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

Posted: June 24th, 2021, 4:39 pm
by MaryDuquette
Chapter One
July 15, 1967

Dear Violet,

This is what I remember:

1. The gray field.
2. The wind.
3. The rain.
4. The river.
5. Nothing at all.

Here’s the thing. The clincher. I may or may not remember any of it. Maybe it’s just a dream I had, a hazy wish, fingers crossed in the middle of the night, whispering words on a shooting star. A longing to be exceptional. Maybe I just pretend I remember. Okay, I was only a baby. It’s a long shot.

So, what I imagine happened is this: The wind pelted the earth with rain and marble-sized hail. It skittered across my face like a caress. The rain - first a sprinkle, then a torrent, then a drizzling spit, adhered to my skin in a glaze, the soak of it in my pores creating a union, breathing into me and making me the essence of it so that any kind of violent inclination would have been almost cannibalistic.

Of course, I was too young to contemplate such a thing, too soft to retain it. But the grass held me, and the wind rocked me, and I was saved. Not in any religiousy kind of way. God wasn’t involved in this one, at all. If there is a God. You could say I was reclaimed. Somebody standing over me, saw the whole thing. Or hearing my cries, wandered over. Or maybe it was a group of them, rescuers in their shells, protective suits and helmets floating around on their bodies like hermit crabs - moving sideways to get a look at this little wet bulb of a baby, this aberration. Picked me up and carried me to wherever home was. I don’t know where home was. You see, I don’t remember.

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

Posted: June 28th, 2021, 11:02 am
by RachelT
Dear Favorite Agent -

Eighteen-year-old, California girl, Sasha Clems runs along the beach each morning in the hopes of earning a cross-country scholarship and then heads off to the first of four jobs. (Because she probably won’t get the scholarship anyway and she will be the first person in her family to go to college). Then one morning, her run leads her to a beached sea-dragon. With its dying breath, it gives her its magic in the form of a basketball-sized jewel.

The last time this happened, the jewel was auctioned off in the high nine figures. After, that was, a kidnapping, three deaths, and an international manhunt by the magic-handling families. Sasha’s jewel is only the answer to all her problems if she can hold onto it.

She doesn’t come from a long line of paranoid con-artists for nothing.

Sasha reenacts/videos finding the sea-dragon’s body sans dying-breath-moment. She reports the body to the magic-handlers’ website and posts the video online, using the upload time to pinpoint her location as she ditches her phone just long enough to hide the jewel. (Everyone knows the magic-handlers totally have the cell system bugged.)

When the magic-handlers show up on her family’s doorstep, she plays them perfectly. So perfectly that the ransacking of her family’s house comes as a complete surprise. As does a way-too-vivid dream of a hot magic-handling boy with dire warnings about other dragons. And then a series of notes begin floating down from her bedroom ceiling; the old guy who found/sold the last dragon jewel wants to help her. (Well, maybe he does…)

An attack on her grandfather and the arrival of a caravan of black government vans make her decide to retrieve the jewel and run for it. The floating notes provide her with GPS coordinates in Newfoundland, Canada, and with no better offers of assistance, she heads northeast. It’s a cross continent race to see if she can make it while still in possession of the sea-dragon’s magic (and decide who she’s going to trust along the way).

Sasha vs. the Whole-Wide-World (and Dragons) is an 80k contemporary YA fantasy. (No vampires, werewolves or fated-soulmates included (but an obnoxiously ethical, seriously gorgeous love interest, yes!))

1970s Historical Fiction

Posted: July 9th, 2021, 5:31 am
by sharondotson
Jack Dare waited until after five o’clock. That way the secretaries would be gone. No reason they should suffer through this. He glanced at his watch. Five-ten. The price of time was far exceeding the cost of working there even one more minute. If-only-I-had, if-only-I-had.

“Those are the saddest words in the world,” his father used to say. “Don’t wait for an invitation to get off your ass and do what needs to be done.”

Jack tossed his coat over his arm, hoisted his briefcase and headed for the records room where his law partner Warren Guillory stood before a bank of file cabinets riffling through documents. Guillory didn’t look up.

“Hey-uh. Well, how was Houston? Why’d Ed drag you all the way down there this close to Thanksgiving?”

Jack opened his mouth to respond, but Guillory rolled right on by.

“How’s ol’ Ed doing these days? Bet the poor bastard’s gone bald by now.” Guillory, who liked to brag his hair was as thick as pea soup had never met a bald head he didn’t take the time to insult.

“He's fine. Houston agrees with him.”

Guillory eyed Jack over his shoulder. “That so?” He pulled out a document, glanced at it, then stuffed it back in the drawer. “Greenhaven was never good enough for that prick. He wanted out of here as fast as he could go.”

Inventing facts was Guillory’s M.O., but Jack couldn’t give him a pass on this one. “Ed practiced law here for fourteen years, Warren. That’s not exactly hightailing it out of town.”

“Shit, you know what I mean. Ed’s was the poster child for unbridled ambition. President of this. Winner of that. Always on the make.”

Jack rolled his eyes, a gesture he would have skipped had Guillory been looking straight at him.

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

Posted: July 16th, 2021, 4:54 pm
by JRTomlin
The Noblest Knight
Historical Fiction

When Thomas Randolph stepped through the side door into the refectory of Cambuskenneth Abbey, the place was already abuzz. The scent of the building, the tang of cold stone, mixing with the sweet scent of beeswax polished wood and candles, tickled his nose. At the far end beneath a high crucifix, a dais had been erected, covered with rugs, and on it sat an elaborately carved abbot's chair that would serve as a throne. A pity it was not gilt, but they had had little time to prepare for the arrival of the Pope's emissaries. A throng of colorfully clad nobles surrounded the dais quietly engaged in speculating in a hum of murmurs.
James Douglas, joined him. "What do you think?"
"We are ready," Thomas said. He turned back to the open door and nodded.
The King flicked his purple, fur-lined cloak hemmed with gold thread to settle it better around his shoulder and strode into the room. Behind him, Robert de Keith, Marischal of Scotland, a good man who had broken the English archers at Bannockburn, carried the huge sword of state to stand behind the King as a symbol of his protection.
The herald intoned, "Lord Robert, King of the Scots."
Everyone bowed deeply as the King sat, his polished and gold etched plate armor gleaming.
Beams from the windows lit the gold circlet on his uncle's hair though Thomas saw strands of white mixed into his it. He went to stand next to the throne, and his heart sped up as he signaled to the herald.