THAT DOGGONE VOICE WORKSHOP
Jun29

THAT DOGGONE VOICE WORKSHOP

link UPDATE: Due to unforeseen events, Lauren will be reading entries through Sunday, July 8. Thanks for your patience!  It’s finally here! The posts that follow this one are the entries for THAT DOGGONE VOICE WORKSHOP. I’ve brought together my agent, Lauren Hammond with ADA Management and some talented writers, Leigh Ann Kopans, Becca (Becks) Coffindaffer, and Marieke Nijkamp (The V-Team) who I’ve noticed had fantabulous writing voices to help me out. Go here for more information about the workshop and a post about voice. And here’s the quick details…   Lauren Hammond, Agent with ADA Management Website Twitter: @NovelistLauren (Commenting as Lola7384) Lauren will take the next week to tell the lucky winners’ (who snagged a spot in the workshop) whether their first 250 words of their finished manuscript or work in progress has voice or not. Introducing the Voice Team …  Along with the talented Lauren’s comments, I have a team full of awesomeness who I feel have such wonderful voices that will critique the entries during the week.   Leigh Ann Kopans Website Twitter: @LeighAnnKopans  Becca (Becks) Coffindaffer Website Twitter: @callmebecks Marieke Nijkamp Website Twitter: @mariekeyn Please address all questions or concerns in the comments of this post. Also, if you have an entry in the workshop and something went wonky with the formatting, please let me know.  Don’t forget to check out INSANITY and WHITE WALLS, by Lauren Hammond.       Buy them here: Amazon  Barnes and Noble  And check out the upcoming Entangled Publishing pitch event on July 16. Please do not comment until Lauren and the V-Team have critiqued the entries. If you have questions or want to cheer on your friends you can do so on this post. Thank you! If you want to rework your entry, post it in the comments of your entry’s post. Becks and I will critique those/or the originals if you...

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DOGGONE VOICE: CROW’S REST (WIP)
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: CROW’S REST (WIP)

  Title: CROW’S REST (WIP) Genre: YA urban fantasy Mom woke me as we hit the outskirts of Crow’s Rest. “Brace yourself, Avery Girl.” It’s what she’d said the first time we’d come to visit Uncle Tam, and every time since, as we got close to Crow’s Rest and the Castle. Anticipation and dread surged through me as I sat up. The June air streamed in through the open window, coating my tongue with heat and iron-rich dust. Houses flashed by: a few McMansions (probably foreclosed on before they’d even been built out) along with the farmhouses from the 1840s on. Buzzing insects circled the weeds, already drying and brittle among the oaks. As we took that last curve on the approach, tree branches arched over the road, blocking our view until there it stood—a castle, a brick anomaly glowing red in the afternoon light.  Looming over the Gold-Rush-era town from the top of a hill, making my shutter finger itch. The usual mass of turkey vultures and ravens soared above it, sinisterizing the turret seven more. Wilson Castle wasn’t really a castle, of course, not here in the foothills above Sacramento. The fanciful hulk had originally been built as a reform school for boys. Bad boys had come and gone through the Wilson School of Industry since it opened in the 1890s, up until they moved next door to a more secure facility in the 1960sand the landmark was gutted. “The Castle’s so solidly out of place,” I said to my mom, “but kind of elemental–like it grew herewith the...

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DOGGONE VOICE: ABEL PIRATES
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: ABEL PIRATES

  Title: ABEL PIRATES Genre: YA alternate historical  Beatrix was used to keeping her head down in Sheepshank.  It was when she felt Miss Black tense beside her that she looked up and spotted him. A man on horseback in their path of retreat. He hardly seemed a threat—oily black curls bounced beneath his ridiculously wide-brimmed planter’s hat; an orange feather plume sagged upon his shoulder—but Miss Black considered everyone a threat.  Even ruddy-cheeked fops who couldn’t keep their periwigs on straight. “Hallo there, Miss Black,” the man called with a wave. “Lost, are you? Courthouse is in the other direction.” He laughed, a high-pitched titter, and spurred his horse toward them, settling in at a trot down the wide cobblestone path. “Not a word,” Miss Black quietly instructed, taking Beatrix lightly by the wrist. Before she could reply, the man was upon them. Not that a reply was necessary. Beatrix would hardly choose today, of all days, to start conversing with strangers. But ever since arriving in town and finding the streets dead, Miss Black had been on edge—more so than usual. The bank had been locked up, and wedged in the door they’d found a hastily scrawled noted: “Closed. Trial of Billy Cook, accused pirate.” “But won’t it look suspicious if we miss the trial?” Beatrix had pointed out as Miss Black ushered her briskly toward the path out of town. She’d stopped abruptly. “Attend a pirate trial? Sometimes I think you take it lightly, just how close you are to the hangman’s noose.”  ...

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DOGGONE VOICE: BROKEN
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: BROKEN

  Title: BROKEN Genre: YA Dark Contemporary Red and blue lights dance off the roof of my mother’s car.  I groan and lean back against the seat.  The movement makes my head spin and my stomach rolls.  My heart beat pounds inside my skull and it feels like my brain is about to beat right through the bone. Pushing against the steering wheel, I try to shift into a more comfortable position.  My hand slips and my elbow slams into the door next to me.  I grunt and cradle my arm against my chest, trying to focus on my fingers through blurry vision.  Red paint covers my hand and is smeared across my shirt, the fabric clinging to my skin.  It’s sticky and uncomfortable.  I frown, unable to remember the last time I painted something. The cracks in the windshield distort my vision and I squint in an attempt to make out my surroundings in the dark.  A tree has sprouted through the hood of the car, its branches splayed across the glass.  The headlights illuminate more trees in their path.  Why the hell was I painting in the middle of a forest? A distant memory floods my consciousness.  Lily.  My dad. Panic seizes my body and I struggle to breathe as my lungs spasm. I claw frantically at the seat belt, but it won’t release.  Desperate to escape, I pull on the door handle, but the door is wedged close.  A tree leans against the other side of the twisted metal, ensuring I stay imprisoned in my metal...

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DOGGONE VOICE: FINDING ESTA
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: FINDING ESTA

  Title: FINDING ESTA #1 OF THE SUPES SERIES Genre: Paranormal. Urban Fantasy The weather forecast said clouds with cool winds, with a small chance of sunny spells: a perfect example of British summer time. I busied myself getting ready – stomach in knots – to see my folks. Half way through brushing my teeth, I recalled brushing them earlier.   “Crap,” I spat and stared at the white gunged, annoyed at how the dreaded, weekly event was disturbing me. “I need to earn cash, quick. I need to sever my ties with them, for good.”   Flo, my best friend in – well, the afterlife – listened dutifully to my weekly rant. She sighed audibly in response. She knew I could never do so completely. They were vile, but they were my parents, after all. My heart beat quickened unbearably, “No more Sundays eating food like puke and… well, everything else. Won’t it be great, Flo?” I forgot what I was doing, looking around for clues. “You’re telling me,” Flo agreed, from where her spirit now lived. “But really, what’s the worst that could happen if you just called up and said, ‘Hey you pair of evil freaks, screw you?” Ever the devils advocate, which got awkward as she lived within the realms of my subconscious. Or something like that. I never did get a complete handle on exactly how it worked. “Oh. I dunno, they might let my flat –or rather their flat – to someone else, financially forcing me to move back in with them. Or worse!” I gave up trying to recall whatever it was I’d forgotten to do, and swung my backpack in place, over my shoulder and threw psycho-pharmaceuticals into my mouth, helping them down with a great gulp of tap...

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DOGGONE VOICE: BETTER LIVES
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: BETTER LIVES

  Title:BETTER LIVES Genre:YA Science Fiction When Gil and Lew came to my dorm room with the idea of stealing the physics final, I normally wouldn’t have considered such a dumbass move. Not that I had any moral objections to cheating or stealing.   But normally, the potential for a high grade on a single test weighed against getting kicked out of prep school wasn’t worth the risk.  Normally. But these were special circumstances.  I had opportunity thanks to Gil and Lew, motive, thank you very much Mr. Taylor.  And I had an ace-in-the-hole, courtesy of hooking up with a pretty, but already-getting-on-my-nerves fifteen year-old freshman, two weeks earlier. I slipped around to the back of our teacher’s house and found Gil waiting for me. “Door’s locked.”  His breath was visible in the cold. “I’ll open it,” I said. Gil gave me a classic Gilbert and Lewis dull look. The two of them might as well have been brothers, both with Nordic good looks, several inches over six feet…and not too bright. “I’m going to open it,” I repeated, taking out my tension wrench and wide-tipped pick. Gil’s jaw went slack, mouth hanging open slightly before he closed it.  “I’ve seen this shit on TV.  You’re going to pick it?” “Yeah, if you shut up and let me concentrate.” The doorknob turned loosely in my hand. Broken.  So, only the deadbolt to deal with.  Slipping the tension wrench into the lock, I pushed my rake all the way to the back of plug.  The lock turned and the bolt slid...

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DOGGONE VOICE: WHERE THERE IS DARK
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: WHERE THERE IS DARK

  Title: WHERE THERE IS DARK Genre: YA Fantasy The twenty-four hour incense stick releases a continuous thread of fragrant smoke. Vanilla. Saturdays are always vanilla. The scent mixes with the pungent odor of mushrooms boiling in a pot over the hearth’s open flames. Mushrooms thrive in the dark, so they are the only food that isn’t rationed. And like the incense clock, they remind me of everything the darkness has stolen. Across the kitchen, Mother flashes me a smile. Firelight brings out the red in her hair, which she wears twisted into a braid over one thin shoulder. Desperation shoots through me. If the light doesn’t return soon, we won’t last much longer. She’s humming some upbeat tune I don’t recognize, and her outright cheeriness evokes an urge to scream, what’s wrong with you? She’s oblivious to the multifaceted wrongness that is Creperi. But then I think, no, it’s worse than that. She’s outright ignoring it.  I focus on the clock. Weighted disks hang from dual strings stretched across the smoldering stick of incense. A red-hot glow sizzles through the first string. It snaps, and the disks crash onto the bronze plate below with a resounding gong. A heartbeat passes. The second string breaks. Two gongs. Twelve o’clock. Tristan should be here by now. Worry gnaws at my insides, but Mother doesn’t seem to notice that either. “I have a council meeting tonight,” she says. I grab a spoon off the counter and stir the murky liquid inside the pot. The grayish bits of mushroom...

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DOGGONE VOICE: PEREGRINE
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: PEREGRINE

  Title: PEREGRINEGenre: YA Science Fiction (Space Opera) They tell me I’m one of a kind. But only by the process of elimination. The elimination of everyone else on my planet. Some call me a miracle. Some, a liability. To most, though, I’m a… “Freak!” I open my eyes to the holo on the gym wall, tuning out the jeers of my potential classmates. Virtual trees whiz past and a dirt road stretches for miles, but my focus is on the luminescent text floating above the scenery: 24MPH. I blink hard. Still there. “Can you go any faster?” the evaluator asks without lifting his gaze from his handheld. I’m not sure. This is the first time I’ve been allowed to run post-incident. And allowed really isn’t the right word. He gestures for me to pick up the pace and my feet obey. The track hums as it gathers speed. Teal flyaways slip from my ponytail and cling to my face. I try to slick them back,but they keep falling. Behind me, a few applicants snicker so loud it’s meant for my ears. Others whisper, unaware that I can hear their comments. About my appearance, my performance, what little chance I have of passing this eval. It’s not a distraction. It’s fuel. Enrollment to CS137 is guaranteed only to the top three applicants, which makes for serious competition. As one of the most prestigious public schools in the capital, it’s a favorite among local politicians and their families. It was also the easiest to forge my way...

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DOGGONE VOICE: SPARK
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: SPARK

    Title: SPARK Genre: YA Dark Fantasy Pressing myself against a brick wall, I tried to catch a break from the sea of students flowing through the floodgates of Saint Isabel High. I’d never seen so many name-brand clothes in one place before. I took a step forward and then quickly returned to the safety of the wall. Get a grip. People are staring. I tried to will myself to listen, to move away from the wall, but my fear kept me locked into place like a statue held by chains. Acting like a mess wasn’t going to make my old rep of being a freak-girl go away in this school any easier. “Hey! Come here!” My breath caught when the hot jock yelled and waved at me. Or what I wanted to be me. After all, didn’t I try to make myself look like his type when I got up that morning? My finger lightly swiped across my sorry excuse for lipstick, kicking up a slight hint of cherry from my lip balm, making me feel like a little girl in big girl clothing. My legs wanted to run away, but my brain ordered me to act like this was nothing new and walk over to him as if I’d done it a million times. No one knew the old me. The one I’d left behind. I could be different here. I just had to act the part. I managed to plaster a huge fake smile across my face as I strolled over to...

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DOGGONE VOICE: STARRY KNIGHT
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: STARRY KNIGHT

    Title: STARRY KNIGHT Genre: YA SF The last time I saw my dad, he whispered eleven words into my ear. Take care of your mom, Sage. She’s not strong like us. The nine-year-old me swelled with the responsibility. The sixteen-year-old me is sagging under the weight. His words haunt me as I stand on the cracked cement of my front porch. Voices buzz through the door, growing like an approaching swarm of angry bees. Only dented steel separates me from the broiling fight inside. My hand presses against the cool metal of the doorknob. Turn it. Open it. But my fingers won’t move. My eyes follow a spider skittering across the porch. It slips into a crack and I want to slip with it. But I’m stuck, cemented to this spot by the rippling fear inside of me. By the words in my head. “What the hell?” Ken’s rough voice thunders through the door followed by my mother’s predictable whimper. I want to turn around, to walk away, to ignore the replay of my mother’s love life. Alcohol, losers, fighting, tears, more alcohol. But then I hear the smack. It rips through the air with painful screaming in its wake. My heart bounces in my chest as I push open the door, sliding my book bag from my shoulder. I cross the narrow kitchen that spills into the living room where lamps blaze and the television buzzes. Ken’s fists are raised over my mother who cowers on the floor with her face clutched in her...

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DOGGONE VOICE: SHADOWS OF DESTINY
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: SHADOWS OF DESTINY

      Title: SHADOWS OF DESTINY Genre: YA Contemporary fantasy Taylor took one long, deep breath before opening the door to her own personal hell. Two dozen heads turned to look at her as she walked in, then the whispers began. “Why doesn’t she just stay home?” “I swear, I shiver every time I look into her eyes,” a boy whispered. “Then don’t! I bet she’d curse you,” his friend said next to him.  A few students laughed. Taylor ignored the snickering, she was used to it. She walked past the staring eyes with her head held high. She wouldn’t acknowledge them. Wouldn’t show how they affected her. Sitting at her desk she carefully pulled out an envelope, but flinched when she heard a grunt from behind her. Turning her head slowly, wary, she saw a pretty blonde girl smiling at her. “Yes?” Taylor asked, realizing the girl was trying to get her attention. “Can I ask you a question?” “Go right ahead.” Taylor responded, annoyed. She hardly expected a sleep over invitation. “What’s it like having a murderer for a father?” the girl said more loudly, her smile never leaving her face. Taylor didn’t recognize this girl and she realized she must be new, already jumping on the bandwagon. She learns fast, Taylor thought. Regardless, a dozen responses ran through Taylor’s mind, “What’s it like being a total…”– no, no need for another trip the office.” It’s great! He taught me how to skin a human right before he died. I really like your pigmentation, by the...

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DOGGONE VOICE: WHAT HAPPENS IN WATER
Jun29

DOGGONE VOICE: WHAT HAPPENS IN WATER

    Title: WHAT HAPPENS IN WATER Genre: YA Contemporary I have never lost a game of Manhunt. Cassie isn’t patient enough for hide-and-seek in the dark. She loses interest and would rather be found, squealing and laughing. She’s always been the best at pulling people near her, people who want to hear her stories or raise their cups or kiss her, maybe. I’m the best at hiding. Running while it’s still dark enough to not get caught. Slipping into small spaces with my knees and elbows covered in dirt. We gave up Manhunt three summers ago. But I am still that girl with her back pressed against the tree, listening to receding footsteps. I’d give anything to be thirteen and out in the woods. I’d happily take a double period of chemistry while Cassie mouths, “Shoot me” across the table. Instead, I stand on line at the Department of Motor Vehicles for the seventh time, inhaling the smells of sweat, coffee, and nerves of would-be drivers. Amateurs. “Name?” the DMV worker asks. “Savannah—” “—Kaitlyn Gregory,” my father cuts in. “This says ‘K.S. Gregory,’” says the DMV worker with the I-don’t-have-time-nor-patience-for-your-discrepancy tone, tapping the blue index card. “Are you K.S. Gregory?” “Yes,” we say at the same time. “Fantastic.” DMV Man clearly does not find this fantastic. “Park across from the playground and wait there.” I pull the keys from Dad’s hand. He tightens a finger around the Oneonta lanyard. Foiled, as...

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