Monday, May 22, 2017

Unnamed, Unedited Retelling

Sometimes, when my mind wonders, I come up with random thoughts about alternate lifestyles. This is one of those thoughts. It may end up as a novel, or it may just stay a random blog post. Only time will tell.
----------
Every day I used to dream of what it'd be like to live in one of those fancy houses we passed everyday ok the way to school. Now that I'm grown, that dream faded like the others. I was happy with my tiny apartment in the west part of town. The neighbors kept to themselves, and only a few people were robbed. It wasn't so bad.

Most days were the same. I'd wake up, grab a bowl of cereal, then head off to my boring retail job at Bigglymart. They sold everything from clothes to electronics to groceries. It was really a one-stop shop. I didn't care much for it but it paid the rent.

I daydreamed a lot while I waited for a customer to wander into my lane. Sometimes about traveling out of the country. Other times about what I'd cook for dinner. Who was I kidding, I hardly cooked anything. The stacks of pizza boxes outside my door proves that. Still, for a nineteen-year-old, I sure spent a lot of time with my head in the clouds.

"Good morning, Ms. Miller." Ms. Mary, the customer service manager, walked over to my register and snapped me out of one of my daydreams. Her sweet smile warmed everyone in the mornings even on the cold days like that day.

"Good morning," I replied back, returning the warm smile. Ms. Mary carried on about her business while I went back in my daydream.

A customer appeared in my line, a tall white man with brown eyes and shaggy dark hair. He was dressed in a black tee with a leather jacket and tattoos down both arms. This guy had trouble written all over his brooding face. It was hardly 9 AM, why was he so angry looking?

"Good morning, sir," I said in the best cherry voice I could muster up.

He glared at me and dropped a box of Life cereal on the belt.

"Hey," he said in a deep voice. He's defiantly from Arkansas.

"Rough morning?" I asked, and immediately regretted. He glared at me again, but this time a slight smile crossed his lips.

"For starters, I found out I was out of cereal after I woke up craving some," he said. His smile quickly faded.

"That sucks. Life is my favorite brand, too."

He let out a small chuckle as he pulled out his wallet. "Is that so?"

"Yeah, very much so," I replied. "That'll be $3.09."

He handed me four wrinkled $1 bills and said, "Keep it, I hate change."

He grabbed his single bag and headed straight for the door.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Is It Too Early To Be This Excited?

On April 25th, I participated in the #DVpit Twitter party. I wasn't expected much, but to my surprise, I received a good number of likes from literary agents, most of which were on my "to-query" list. The next day, I revised my query and first pages as much as possible and started sending them out to the requesting agents. Again, I wasn't expecting much.

Not even two hours later, I received my first reply. Nervous, I opened the email thinking it was yet another rejection. Instead, it was my very first FULL REQUEST! I was more than ecstatic. I went over my manuscript for about five hours before sending it to the agent's assistant. I had to force myself to press the SEND button on the email. A few minutes later, I received a confirmation email stating that she [the assistant] received my manuscript. According to their website, full requests take about 60 days for a reply. So here I am in the most painful 60-day wait ever.

That's not all. To distract myself from waiting for a response from the other #DVpit agents and my full request, I decided to send out a few more queries. On May 3rd, I queried an agent from a well-known agency that reps two of the authors with popular Young Adult books-to-movies. Once again, I wasn't expecting much, especially since most of the feedback from other authors is negative (she hardly responds if she's not interested...and she's hardly interested).

Five days later, I received an email from the agency's editor stating that she'd like to read the first 50 pages of my manuscript. She also asked if I had any other requests out with agents. I squealed! This isn't a full request, but the thought of possibly being among some of the best-selling authors made my day. I went over the first 50 pages for any errors that jumped out, saved it as a PDF, then sent it as requested. I added a note that I do have a full request out with an agent currently. Again, a few minutes later I received a confirmation email. I'm not sure how long I should wait on a partial request, but I read that it's a 3-month wait. According to Query Tracker, she usually responds to partial fairly quick so maybe I won't have to wait as long.

I'm excited but I'm keeping it cool. This doesn't mean either of them will be ringing my phone offering me representation, but it's one step further. I feel as if I've accomplished step 1 of my goal to being published, and that's something to celebrate. Ice cream for me! (as if I need a reason to eat ice cream).

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Nevin Rockiest | Immunity Hunter

Name: Nevin Rockiest
Age: 17
Occupation: Student/Eradication Squad Trainee
Weapon: Lightning Sword
Magic: Lightning Rod

Everyone in this city is freaked out about the Konadai. Well, I am too but not as much as them. I'm just a laid-back kind of guy. The city isn't all that bad. We have everything we could ever want here, including PIZZA! But there is something I want more than anything—well besides Ashley of course, she's my world. Too bad her father doesn't like me. Does he think I'm a bad influence? I don't think I'm a bad influence. . .

Anyway, I wanna be on the Eradication Squad's sweep team! That way, I can show everyone I'm not just some loser. Then Ashley's father would have to respect me. . .right? Maybe they'll even make me a squad leader! That'll be cool.

Illustration by: Autumn-Sacura on DeviantArt

Fang Okamimuto | Immunity Hunter

Name: Fang Okamimuto
Age: 17
Occupation: Student/Eradication Squad Trainee
Weapon: None
Magic: Okamikiin

I'm Fang. . .yeah my parents thought it would be funny to give me such a stupid name. But mom said I bit her when I was born so I guess the name fits.

Don't worry about the collar the humans force us to wear is a worse joke. It's supposed to suppress our powers. Ha! Like that'll stop me! Those humans have bigger things to worry about than us Okamikiin. They'll be begging us for help when the Konadai breach the wall. Sure, the humans can use fire, lightning, and energy, but can they use their claws to tear a Konadai's heart out with ease? I doubt it!

At least my friends accept me for who I am. And Rin. . .she still likes me—for now. They're the only ones that matter. The rest of the humans on this island can rot like the Konadai for all I care.

Illustration by: Autumn-Sacura on DeviantArt

Monday, April 24, 2017

Konan Henslee | Immunity Hunter

Name: Konan Henslee
Age: 17
Occupation: Student/Field Agent
Weapon: Double Axes
Magic: None

The Konadai aren't going anywhere anytime soon, but that doesn't stop us from trying. My dad thinks training is the best way to spend my time. Mom says I need to spend more times with friends. They're both right; friends and family are what's important in this city. Without them we're nothing, but I have other things on my mind now. People are going missing and no one seems to have any answers. That's where I come in. With the help of my partner, Aaron, we'll find out what's happening to our neighbors one way or another.

I hope she's not involved.

Illustration by: Autumn-Sacura on DeviantArt

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sasame Kai | Immunity Hunter

Name: Sasame Kai
Age: 17
Occupation: Immunity Hunter
Weapon: Shortsword
Magic: Pyro Dancer

Our city has been at war with the beasts known as the Konadai since, well, forever. It became personal the day my parents died. I was thirteen when they left for a routine operation and never returned. Nothing is ever routine in this city. I sat up for hours waiting for them to come back, but all that came was a knock on the door from one of the squad leaders. It would've been better had she brought some ice cream with her before dropping the "your parents are never coming home" bomb.

Now, I'm a trained immunity hunter fueled by grief. The job isn't all that great, it takes its toll on me, but at least it keeps my head clear—well, sort of. I can deal with that. It's the pain and abandonment I can't get over.

Illustration by: Autumn-Sacura on DeviantArt

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Banned From A Writing Forum

Today I was banned from Absolute Write. Why? Because I posted a critique I received on a query. I didn't name the site, I didn't name the poster. The only way anyone would've known was if they themselves were a member.

The reason for the ban: You can find another forum to bitch about. On top of that, one of the moderators sent me a tweet stating "You can find another forum to bitch about, you've overstayed your welcome." Really? How? I didn't cause drama on the board. Yes, I may have gotten defensive over critiques and that's my fault. But overstayed my welcome because I posted a critique I felt was rude?

They did me a favor, though. After an online research I learned that the site is full of bullies and if you don't fit into their little cliques then you're a target. I tried staying on everyone's good side, but I guess the screenshot was the last straw.


No hard feelings, I'll take my punishment and walk away with my head up. No writer should be forced to deal with such hate. Yes, there are some really helpful people there, but they are taken over by bitter, angry, assholes that just want to argue and put people down.

There are healthier writing communities out there than Absolute Write Water Cooler. Be sure to do your research.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Vegas Proposal | Flash Fiction

This is the result of having too much downtime on a long bus trip. Enjoy

"If I hit blackjack on this hand, I'll propose to her right here, right now," the man sitting next to me says to the dealer.

We've been sitting at this table for nearly an hour and neither of us has hit blackjack yet. So, of course, I meet his bet.

"If I hit blackjack, I'll say yes to his proposal."

What do I have to lose? He's handsome, looks amazing in that black suit, and seems to have some sort of wealth to him considering he's been bidding way above the minimum. Who sits at a ten dollar table and makes one hundred dollar bets? Besides, it's not like either of us will hit blackjack on this hand.

The dealer gives us both a smirk as he deals out the cards. My first card is a face card, king of spades. His card, ace of hearts. The dealer has a two of spades. To build up suspense, the dealer deals our next cards facedown.

"So who wants to flip theirs first?" he says with a grin. The handsome man with the fat wallet lifts the corner of his card to take a peek.

Sweat builds on my brow as he takes his time turning the card over. He glances over at me and winks. Is he seriously considering proposing to a woman he just met?

Friday, March 31, 2017

No, I Will Not Tell You What My Novel Is About

It happens, you find yourself talking about your new shiny WIP and someone asks "what is it about?" What do you do? You tell them, right? Of course, you do, you're excited about it and want people to know you're writing some unique.

Except...it's not unique. It's the same overdone crap that rots on the shelves of every bookstore known to man. You didn't write anything different. At least, that's what people tell you after you waste your breath telling them what you're writing.

They say, "It won't ever sell, so work on something else." They mean well. They're trying to help you. Does it help?

So let's get to how I feel about this. No, I will not tell you about my story. My story is the same crap. It's over done. Agents will reject it because they can't sell it. Publishers are tired of it. Readers don't want it. I should write something else. Forget that I've spent the last 8 years writing, drafting, adding or removing characters, fleshing out their personalities, building the world for them to live in, giving them a reason to protect their friends. Forget all that and write something else.

I mean, it's easy, right? To hear people tell you that your story won't sell before they even look at the first sentence. To hear people say stop working on that crap and write something that will sell. Why not? You're only doing it to see your name on a book as big as James Patterson's ego.

So what do you do?

Me? I'll finish my WIP, edit it to perfection, and find out for myself is it'll sell. Even 1 copy sold is a sell last time I checked.

So no, I won't tell you what my novel is about, but you can read about it when it's published.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Caara Island Short Stories | Rin Youngbrook

It's hot today, too hot to go do anything productive. It's not like the guards are allowing me to leave the compound anyway. Michael has us on some sort of lockdown. I guess he's worried about Ashley and I. Sure, we both got hurt, but we're alive—somehow.

Sitting in my room, I day dream Shadow, the boy that stole my heart. He's as mysterious as his name. We've been seeing each other for a few months now, but neither of us has taken the leap to make it official. And then there's Fang, the Okamikiin that makes me laugh. He has the cutest ears I've seen on his people. He's determined to sway my affection toward him, but my heart belongs to Shadow, though. At least, I think it does.

I know, I shouldn't be messing around with the both of them, but they seem to make one complete guy. Fang is funny and ready for adventure while Shadow is more serious. Maybe I'm making excuses.

A small rock hits my window. My heart feels like it's about to jump out of my chest. I walk over to see who is trying to get my attention. It must be one of the guards playing tricks or something. No, it's Fang sitting on a tree branch about a foot away. He smiles at me and waves.

"Can I come in?" he asks with a large grin on his face.

I smile and open my window allowing Fang to enter. I don't know why he insists on climbing that tree.

"What are you doing here?" I ask.

"I wanted to see you. I was thinking we could sneak out of this place and go get something to eat."

"You know I can't do that. The guards have this place locked down."

Fang laughs pointing at the window.

"Then why was it so easy for me to get in? C'mon, what do you have to lose?"

What do I have to lose? My freedom. Well, sort of. Being locked up in this house only allowed to go out into the garden or the pool isn't exactly freedom. But if the guards see me sneaking off with an Okamikiin—I don't want to think about what will happen.

"Fang, I…"

My head hangs, I don't want to turn him down but I also don't want him here. Not now. He puts his hand underneath my chin and lifts my head up to face his. A smile comes across his face, but I turn away.

"Do you want me to go?" he asks finally.

"Yes, you should. If the guards catch you, then you'll get a worse punishment than a visit to the hospital."

Fang turns toward the window with his bottom lip poked out and his head hanging low. I touch his right shoulder, but he shrugs it off. I hurt him, that's clear, but I have to look out for myself. I can't fall for an Okamikiin.

"I want you to know something." He keeps his back to me. "Even though you may not feel the same, I like you…a lot. I don't risk my life for anyone, ya know. I wanted you to understand that."

He climbs out of the window across the tree branch. I stand in the middle of my room in shock. His words flow through my head, but they didn't make any sense. I mean, I know he likes me, anyone can see that, but did he say he loved me? That's what it translated to, right? My stomach starts to flutter. I keep repeating the words in my head: I can't fall for an Okamikiin.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Son Of A Pitch Query | Immunity YA Fantasy *Updated*

Title: Immunity
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 78,000

Query (minus the bio)

Seventeen-year-old Sasame Kai hates the mutated undead more than she hates doing petty missions for her agency. Those flesh-eating bastards took her parents and left her with no one. She trains every day at the fighting and magic academy envisioning ripping off the mutants' heads.

The agency sends her on a mission to hunt students at the academy whose blood is the key to the mutation virus antidote. Sasame's emotions have no place in her missions; her victims' blood is more valuable. The problem is, the more time she spends learning about her targets, the more she grows to actually enjoy their company. Even if some of them are annoying. Her handlers aren't happy. They have strict rules against relationships. Insubordination means death.

When questioned about her new friends, Sasame pretends they aren't important to her, but her regret over hunting students interferes with her missions. Sasame confronts the agency and they answer by threatening her life. If she goes against her orders, she will be forced to kill her new friends to prove her loyalty to her cruel employer or risk becoming the next target herself.

IMMUNITY is complete at 78,000 words and is told from the points of view of five characters. It is a standalone novel with series potential.


First 250 Words

It's only another mission, I keep telling myself as I try to sleep. I stare at the ceiling fan spinning on the lowest setting. There really isn't a need for the fan as the air is surprisingly cool tonight, but its sound comforts me. Tonight is different. In my mind, the blades of the fan turn to knives. Blood rains down on my face and the screams of my victims pierce through my ears. Tomorrow will just be another mission.

The sound of Yuki talking to her husband—my substitute parents—enters my ears from the next room.

"I pulled some strings and got the perfect mission for Sasame," Yuki says. "She's going to Summer Fest to meet teenagers her age for some much-needed interaction."

I'm seventeen, not twelve. I don't need to make friends. Yuki's been laughing and talking about how great the festival will be for the last hour. Her squeaky, high-pitched voice is like nails on a chalkboard. It sounds like she had the same cold for years. Ever since my parents disappeared, The Organization that I devote my loyalty to was kind enough to give me replacements. Not that I need them, I can take care of myself.

I roll over and close my eyes. The walls are so thin in this townhouse; I'm surprised they've never heard me scream into my pillow at night. I cover my face with my pillow to block out the sound. How blind can everyone in this city be?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Diversity Is Becoming More of a Trend

When I started creating the characters for my debut novel, I made them all diverse. This was back in 2008. I made it obvious of what race/culture each character was from. After many, many rewrites I removed their racial diversity. Not because I wanted to "whitewash" them but because I found myself digging into the character racial backgrounds more than the actual plot of the story.

My novel has an anime feel to it although I never say the characters are Japanese. They have weird colored hair and features (purple eyes, blue hair…) but they don't really have a race. Some of their names are a little giveaway, though. Such as Lin Ming, Tee Lin, Sasame, Rin…but I still never mention race or culture.

Don't get me wrong, I love diversity but it seems like people are trying to force it. Agents or publishers only taking submissions from #OwnVoices or LGBT characters that are anything but white and screaming it throughout Twitter. I'm not white; I'm a black woman living in Arkansas that's engaged to a white man. I prefer rock and metal over rap and hip-hop. I'd rather go camping than to a club. I'm in love with anime, zombies, and dead things. I don't wear long nails and I'm not that fond of watermelon.

But I don't want to turn myself into a character in a book just for the sake of saying "Look at me! I'm diverse and shit!" I like my characters the way they are and I have a very specific look for them in my head. My readers can decide if they are black, Asian, Hispanic, or whatever.

Diversity isn't a trend, although now it seems to be that way.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

GUARDIAN OF SECRETS Release

Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake | Release Day Launch | JenHalliganPR.com

We're celebrating the release of Brenda Drake's GUARDIAN OF SECRETS (Library Jumpers #2), today! Check out the teaser excerpt, and be sure to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below!
GUARDIAN OF SECRETSGuardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake | JenHalliganPR.com
(Library Jumpers #2)
by Brenda Drake
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: February 7, 2017


Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1):


Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2):


Excerpt from GUARDIAN OF SECRETS

She did a U-turn and drove off. I sprinted to the area where I spotted the lightning. A shadowed figure sat on a white bench near the water. Another flash of light kissed the sky and illuminated Nick.

Since discovering he was a wizard, Nick struggled with his new magic. And he was careless. Anyone could spot him out here. How would he explain it to someone who was human and not from the Mystik realm? I couldn’t imagine how it felt to have that much power. Unlike him, I was a Sentinel. I had little magic and relied on my battle training to best wizards and other-world creatures. He only needed to shock or electrocute his adversaries.

“What exactly are you doing?” I asked, approaching.

He almost fell off the bench. “Shit, Gia. Don’t sneak up on a person like that.”

“Seriously, Nick? What are you doing? Someone might see you, and then we’d be discovered.”

“Just leave me alone.”

“I’m not going to just leave you alone.” I sat down on the bench beside him. A light breeze swept loose strands of my hair across my face. The briny smell of the ocean filled my nose. “Talk to me. You’re my best friend, Nick. I’m here for you.”

He formed an electric charge on his palm. I created my pink globe and tossed it on his hand, snuffing out the charge.

He made another electric ball and I cast another globe at it.

“Quit doing that.”

“You stop it.”

“I get it. Your globe is badass. It can counter magic and shield people, but it makes you weak. I can do this all night and wear you out.”

“You’re not nice.”

He buried his face in his hands. The knuckles on his right one were torn, with blood coagulating around the wounds. “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I can’t stop myself. I know I’m being mean to Deidre, to my parents…to everyone.”

“You haven’t been that mean to me, yet. That has to say something. I’m the most annoying one of the bunch.”

He snorted. “Did you just snort?”

“No.” He looked startled. “It was a sneeze.”

“I think you snorted.”

His face brightened. “I know what you’re trying to do. And it’s working.”

“I’m not trying to do anything. That was a full-on snort.” I wrapped my arm over his back and watched the water lap against the retaining wall in front of us. “I know you can’t see a therapist for this, ’cause what would you say? That you just found out you’re the son of the most evil wizard of the Mystik world and the curers recently released your magic?”

He gave me a half smile. “Yeah, that might not go over too well.”

“Or maybe you could. They’d think you were delusional, and you’d score some drugs.”

“Drugs make me nauseous.”

He stared at his hands, and I stared at the water, searching for the right words to say. “This has to be tough for you. I get it. I’ve been there. It’ll take time to adjust. How about I be your counselor? Anytime you feel anxious or angry, you call me and we’ll punch some bags or whatever. It always helps me to relax. Plus, my services are cheap.”

“Violence would make you relax.” He was pleased with his retort and laughed, which was followed by another snort.
Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake | JenHalliganPR.com

Brenda Drake

About Brenda Drake

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2). She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment). Look for her upcoming novels, Thunderstruck, Seeking Fate (Fated Series #3), and Assassin of Truths (Library Jumpers #3) coming soon from Entangled Teen.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Looking At Old Work...

I decided to dig up some of the bios I created for my characters when I started writing Immunity. Looking back on some of this brings up a lot of memories...and a lot of questions. I can't help but think "Why did I write that?"

According to my old work, I created a fully living world with in-depth information about the magic used, the population of the city, and the age and stats of the main and secondary characters. This is a lot of stuff that I forgot.

The writing is pretty bad, though. I believe I've come pretty far with my writing to where I can't believe I wrote like that a few years ago. Now if only I could remember where all these made up names for the magic came from.

I'm thinking I should clean some of this up and post about it on this blog. Some of you might be interested in it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Querying Is The Devil

A post of me whining.

Writing a full-length novel is hard. Telling people what it's about is harder. If the first line sucks, you're thrown into the rejection pile. If they somehow make it past the first line and you say one wrong word: REJECTED.

Honestly, I'm losing more sleep over trying to polish a pretty query than I ever did polishing my manuscript. But I get it. Agents see thousands of queries a month and they don't have time to read everything. So if the hook sucks, you suck. Better luck next time, sweetcheeks.

Luckily, I have someone interested in my manuscript without a polished query. Hopefully things will work out for the better.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beta Readers Needed

I finished Immunity at 77,000 words and now I'm searching for beta readers. I never thought trying to find someone interested in reading would be this hard (ha). I followed some other blogs with detailed information about the location of the mystic beta reader such as BELINDA POLLARD. I did find a few who were willing to read while I was still writing on Goodreads, but now I need the rest of the novel read and reviewed. 

What am I offering in return? A free copy of the finished novel and your name listed in the acknowledgments section (if you want your name listed).

So, who wants to be my first victim?

Contact me at elisastryker@gmail.com

Trying To Figure Out This Blog Thing

I don't blog for a few reasons, one being that I tend to whine...a lot. Even the first sentence is whining. Anyway, I'm trying to start a blog and hopefully, this will go well.

I am a new writer attempting to have my first novel published. I have been tweaking this novel for years. The title is Immunity which will be the first book in a series. There might be two books, or three. We shall see how the story unfolds.

Stay tuned, things are getting exciting.