Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hangover Round 2 Entry #16

TITLE: Sincerely Emiline
GENRE: Contemporary YA

When the parents of rebellious 16 year old Emiline resort to a
non-traditional punishment of switching roles with her for a week in
order to teach her a lesson about bad behavior, she learns the
importance of truthfulness. But when a party “game” turns tragic,
Emiline struggles with the realization that revealing a dark secret
will not only save her dying friend, it will ultimately cause her best
friend banishment by the girl's family.

I was conceived during a game of Scrabble.

To clarify any possibly grotesque images that just popped into your
mind, my name was conceived using spare Scrabble tiles. You know,
right before normal people quit the game for lack of an intelligent

Sixteen years ago, during a raging blizzard.

I suspect the naming was Amy’s stellar idea. She’s my mother. Amy is
all about random creativity and has a Pinterest board that won’t quit.

Calling my parents by their first names tends to irritate them, so
naturally I do it every chance I get these days.

John, my father, threatens to ground me when I call him by his first
name, but he never does. Amy definitely wears the pants in that

So I envision the naming thing went down something like this:

Amy propped up in front of a cozy storybook fire in the living room.
Feet up. In my mind John has eyebrows so I’m assuming the cozy fire is
either one of those click-on versions or Amy built it. John is not
exactly the handyman type. In fact, the only thing Amy allows him to
change is his underwear.

I envision Amy to resemble a mythological Medusa, red hair twirled up
in those bright bendy hair things from Walmart- the kind that make
your hair all spirally. Of course, back then she was blown up to the
size of the QE II because, as she tells it - she was ten months
pregnant with me.

Hangover Round 2 Entry #15

GENRE: YA Magical Realism

Wishing doesn’t make it so — Azra does. Turning sixteen opens the door to Azra’s Jinn ancestry and her new life as a genie. But when she skirts the rules, she is forced to choose between the safety of her family and the boy she loves. See, when genies are involved, there’s always a trick.

A chisel, a hammer, a wrench. A sander, a drill, a power saw. A laser, a heat gun, a flaming torch. Nothing cuts through the bangle. Nothing I conjure even makes a scratch.

I had to try. But the silver bangle can’t be removed. It’s what releases the magic coursing through my veins. It’s like being infected by a virus. And it’s going to kill me. I know it.

I slam my newly acquired accessory against my bedroom closet leaving a rounded indent on the wood door. The pristine, gleaming metal of the bangle mocks me. For the rest of my life, I’ll go where I’m told, perform on command, and do it all without question. Screw that.

I race into my bathroom. 

Click. Click. Click.

I turn on the faucet and watch with satisfaction as the red tips of the long, manicured nails that supplanted my formerly short, round ones overnight swirl around the basin and disappear down the drain. 

Snip. Snip. Snip.

A blanket of dark espresso hair surrounds my feet. I’ve sheared off the four inches that are new since yesterday and then some. The color, which morphed from mouse to mink while I slept, is an exact match for my mother’s. It can stay. The sheen helps the chin-length bob I’ve given myself look halfway decent. 

Seriously, how was I supposed to explain the sudden change in length? I’m not the type of girl to get hair extensions. I don’t want people to think I’m the type of girl who would get hair extensions.

Hangover Round 2 Entry #14

TITLE:  The Art of Making Gravy
GENRE:  MG Contemporary
An entrepreneurial thirteen-year-old sets out to pay off his father’s lawsuit by ‘borrowing’ The Manor and renting it out to an ADHD rocker.  When his wildcard mother does the unspeakable, he’s responsible and money alone won’t keep the family from falling apart.
It was against my principles but I signed my parent’s names to the e-mail anyway and hit send. I was now officially on the list for the Ducksbridge Scholarship Exam and nothing was going to stop me from winning.               
I had a career in mind as a Harley Street plastic surgeon, roaring around in a red Mazda MX-5 and playing polo and things like that.  My parents, who were not plugged into success, just didn’t get it.
Speak of the devil and the sound of grinding gears - my father shuddered into the cul-de-sac trailing van smoke, two hours early from work. I snapped the laptop shut and sat lower in Pretty Girl’s bucket seat to observe.          

Pretty girl, our 1989 Honda Civic, was parked nose out of the garage giving me a perfect view of my father clutching his back and skulking up the driveway.
He stopped outside the kitchen door, scratched his stomach, leaned down and looked through the keyhole.  Music from the ‘70s was blaring out thanks to my mother and her girlfriends.  But this was more than fear of females in yoga positions and stretchy bodysuits. I shoved the car door open and sauntered out to meet him.
“Dad!  You’re home early.”
"Cripes Anthony, give some warning. I’ll die of a heart attack before your mother kills me.”

I was right, then.  My jinxed father had dug himself a new grave. On the other side of the door someone started singing, She’s a Brick House. 

“Is this bad news?” I said.

"Could be better. Come on, time to face the music.” 

Hangover Round 2 Entry #13

TITLE: Faithless Rose
GENRE: YA Paranormal

Killed at the hands of King Henry VIII’s men and brought back to life as a succubus, seventeen-year-old Amelia Godwin cannot change her fate. She can, however, change that of her kidnapped twin brother - if only she can find him. But that could be difficult as she finds herself being hunted and must save herself before finding her brother.

Snapping my fingers, light erupted from them like several candles glowing brightly, allowing me to see better in the dark.  The pain in my twin brother’s heart echoed, calling me to him like a beacon of despair. The cold stairs creaked under my feet as I made my way down the dark corridors of my house and into the library that still smelled of smoke and ale from my going away soiree that evening. I found it quickly, the book called ‘Utopia’. A gentle pull and I found myself in the warm glow of light reaching up to me from the secret cellar behind the shelves.
My fingers slid along the cold stone walls as I wound my way to the bottom of the staircase. I softly knocked then pushed open the old wooden door that creaked slightly as I entered. 
The room was truly marvelous with shelves full of multi colored potions, dried herbs and books of magic. Numerous candelabras and a small fire place were lit around the room illuminating the darkness.
He sat by the fireplace in deep contemplation, full of power and brilliance.
"I’m here,” I spoke to him with no words as I made my way to him and sat at his feet.
His smile, though weak, soothed my soul and I reveled in our connection as he gently stroked my hair.
“Don’t go to London tomorrow,” he finally spoke. “I can’t protect you if you go.”
"Protect me from what?”

Hangover Round 2 Entry #12

GENRE: YA Contemporary
16-year-old Emma looks and acts straight. She has to. Her homophobic best friend would dump her if she knew, and a classmate was attacked for holding hands with his boyfriend. But when Emma falls for her female exchange student it’s time to risk it all.

I had just slammed my locker when Mrs. Galvin’s voice came over the loudspeaker. “Attention students. Report to the auditorium for an assembly. Now!” Really? The one day I was going to be early for Chem?

The halls were jammed, but at least we were all moving in the same direction. I fell in beside Cody. He cleaned his round, wire-frame glasses with the edge of his T-shirt as we walked.

“What’s today’s message?” I asked.

He squinted down at his chest and read, “Haikus are easy/But sometimes they don’t make sense/Refrigerator.”

Cody and I were in most of the same Junior Honors classes. He wore his nerdiness with pride. I covered mine up with makeup and designer knock-offs.

“Profound,” I said. “Not stylish, but profound.”

“We can’t all be smart and trendy at the same time.”

“Right,” Jon said, elbowing in between us. “Life’s too short. Like you.” He punched Cody affectionately on the arm. Jon stood well over six feet; next to Cody he was a giant. Next to everybody, really.

“Could you be a little less friendly?” Cody said, rubbing his arm.

Ignoring him, Jon said, “Hey, Emma, any luck talking your mom out of that Swedish girl’s visit?”

“I wish.” I grimaced.

“I don’t know why you’re not more excited. I think it’d be cool to learn about a different culture up close and personal.”

“Exactly. Up close and personal. I have to share my room with this girl. I won’t have any privacy. There’ll be nowhere to hide.”

Hangover Round 2 Entry #11


12 year old Amelia travels between parallel worlds and befriends a boy she soon suspects is behind the destruction of several of the alternate realities.

My dog Rigby is dead. But I stare over at the maple tree like maybe she’ll run out from behind it anyway.

I kick at a clump of leaves, then slowly rake them into a pile.

“Amelia, you okay?” Dad asks. He drops a bag of leaves to lift me in a hug, rubbing his scratchy chin against my face.

My little sister Gracie glances over, but she’s only making sure no one catches her texting. When Dad lets me go, I spot a tennis ball in the leaves. Another reminder of Rigby. The smell of smoke comes from the chimneys of houses along our street on a cold gust that whips the tree branches. Mom isn’t watching, so I hurry to snatch Rigby’s tennis ball and shove it in my sweatshirt.

“Going to the bathroom,” I say. The second the basement door closes and I’m out of sight, I sprint to the first floor and up another flight of stairs to my room.

I hide the tennis ball in my secret box under a pile of sweaters in my closet, then collapse into my old green chair in the corner. I feel empty—like most of me went with Rigby when she died.

My cat Eleanor leaps from the boards and bricks I’ve stacked to make a bookcase and prances across the room to jump in my lap. She touches her orange and black paw to my face. She’s the only one in my family who understands. 

Hangover Round 2 Entry #10

GENRE: Southern Gothic Novel
The expectations of three Southern families unravel when a World War II prisoner of war returns home to find that the mother of his ten year old daughter is now pregnant by his black half-brother. 

Some things are meant to stay under.  Some things are best left where they are.
"How am I kin to that man?"  Annie squealed in her loudest, ten-year-old voice as Cora, their cook, opened the oven and poured hot fatback into wet cornmeal.  Annie tore at her bushy red hair with the permanent wave that Miss Lula and Aunt Lillemena insisted she get before her uncle's return.  No amount of tugging could pull her hair back to the smooth pony tail she'd worn all summer long.  Her cowlick stood straight up in a wave like a question mark.  

With three swirls around the kitchen, Annie fanned her skirt in front of the open oven like a parachute, hoping this handsome paratrooper with the saucy, blue eyes she'd heard so much about would drop out of the sky, swoop her up and take her away from this impossible house.  

"What do I wear?  This old dress?"  Annie pulled at her skirt and twirled.

Cora, who'd been with the Lambertons forever it seemed, snapped at Annie's bottom with her tea towel.  She knew good and well that when her folks got excited, nothing could calm any of them down.  Not Miss Lula, Lillemena, even Harold, who today was coming home.

"I never met a soldier before," Annie squealed.

"Girl, you gonna blare out your lungs." Cora shoved the sizzling iron skillet back in the oven before the cornbread cooled in the Alabama steam.

Hangover Round 2 Entry #9

TITLE: Telos
GENRE: YA Paranormal

For the past fifteen years, the Lord of Chaos has hunted Lily, the one he believes will guarantee his victory over Heaven; to save herself from eternal captivity, she’ll have to leave her mundane life—and the boy she loves—and join the ranks as a warrior in a hidden society of immortals.
It was going to be the best weekend of my life.

I stood at the end of the walkway, absorbed in a daydream, oblivious to the cloud of exhaust engulfing me as the bus pulled away…until I inhaled and nearly died coughing.  Urged forward, I moved toward my front door.

I couldn’t believe it was finally here, my fifteenth birthday.

And he was coming.

It was going to be perfect.

“You’ll ruin everything!” Mom’s voice carried through the open windows, effectively killing my fantasy of his lips on mine.

I sighed.  She was doing it again.  The littlest spot of dirt could set her off, especially if we were expecting company.  I swear, if she wrecks my weekend just because of some dumb dust bunny…  Gripping the front door’s handle, I hesitated going inside and running the risk of her recruiting me.

“No!  You can’t!  Get out!  Get out and leave us alone!”

The handle ripped out of my hand and, as I stumbled forward, strong arms caught me.  “Oh!  I’m so…”  I looked up at the stranger holding me.  Ho-ly jeez.
Tousled, chestnut hair fell in waves to his chin.  My gaze drifted past his perfect lips and high cheekbones to lashes I would’ve killed for and eyes the oddest shade of violet I’d ever seen.  He blinked and they changed, becoming brilliant, deep-blue oceans.  An overwhelming sense of familiarity filled me as I drowned in those eyes, unable to look away. “Do I, do I know you?”

Hangover Round 2 Entry #8

GENRE: YA Fantasy

To save her war-torn country, sheltered, disfigured princess Feyana Belmaron must journey deep into hostile territory to find—and court—a ruthless enemy prince.

Tavor Castle is beautiful, for a prison.  The white stone castle is small but well-kept, and its fields and woods cover almost a square mile.  Even the looming, twenty-foot walls enclosing the grounds have an odd charm to them. To protect you, Father says, but I know better.  It’s to hide me.  The only ugly thing in Tavor Castle is its princess.

I jam my foot into Lulari’s stirrup and glare up at the walls, wishing my hate could melt them. Only a few more years, until I’m eighteen, and I’ll be free.  Father promised that much, at least.

I turn my head away and cluck Lulari to a walk. The warm breeze ruffles my fascinator and fills my nose with the scent of horse. I smile. Outside, there may still be walls, but at least there’s no ceiling. I brush back a lock of hair—and an ashen, black-cloaked woman appears in my path.

Lulari rears.

I clutch at her mane but grasp nothing.  The ground races up to slap me, and pain jars through my shoulder and back.  I gasp desperately for air.

“Your Highness!”

A stablehand races toward me, her dark hair flying behind her.  Breathing hard, I stir my arms and legs, then probe my ribs for tenderness.  Nothing broken, thank Dal. I sit up and groan.

“I’m fine,” I say.  “Is she alright?”


I look past the baffled servant.  The mysterious woman lies crumpled beneath her cloak, her face unnaturally gray. 

Hangover Round 2 Entry #7

TITLE: Down into Darkness
GENRE: Science Fiction 

Linguist Brian Marconi arrives on Jupiter’s moon to discover that his only predecessor was killed by the alien colony she went to contact. In a race against time, Brian must solve the riddles of alien culture if he hopes to find an avenue for peace before Earth steps in to resolve the problem with brute force.

“He’s a smart kid, Amani,” said the gray-bearded man seated at his ironwood desk. “It’ll be a shame to lose him.”

“He could make it,” the standing, dark-haired man replied.

“Not likely.”

“He’s a soldier, Erickson. even if he doesn’t know it.”

“Isn’t that true…” Erickson reached for the old-fashioned globe of Mars on his desk and set it spinning with a stroke of his hand. “Amani, I don’t know what we need most, justification for war with the damn Mars colony, or sufficient intelligence about Jupiter’s little devils to know what the hell’s going on.” His eyes flicked to a second globe out of reach to one side, a globe few would recognize: Jupiter’s third moon, Ganymede.

“It’s now in the hands of Allah,” Amani said.

Erickson’s beard rasped like steel wool against his uniform as he nodded, raising a hand to touch the shape of a cross concealed beneath the fabric of his shirt. Then he reached out to slow the spinning orb of mars, his fingers dragging at the globe like gravity, or the hand of God, until the northern latitudes came to rest beneath his thumb.

* * * * *

Brian brought his face close to the ship’s tiny porthole, fogging the space-glass as he looked out. He steadied himself in the darkness, gripping the wall bar to support his weightless body while he wiped the window with a sleeve. Outside, the forbidding world of Mars floated beyond his one-man craft. It looked so innocent.

Hangover Round 2 Entry #6

Title: Veiled Innocence
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance

Sarah Croshen has discovered that there really is no such things as coincidence or déjà vu. Maybe she wasn't crazy after all.
 After adjusting the showerhead to pulse, she turned the knob to increase the temperature and drew a deep breath of the moist, dense air. Her pale skin blotched red from the extreme heat, but it felt so good. Water pelted against her delicate flesh like hot needles. Sarah closed her eyes to enjoy a few luxurious moments before slipping completely under the jets. Her long blond hair cascaded over her shoulders and chest.
Lyrics from one of her favorite oldie’s streamed through the speakers and bounced off the blue and white tiled walls of the small bathroom. The awareness of someone watching crept into her consciousness. Despite the heat, a chill ran down her spine. Sarah opened one eye and looked around. It was a familiar sensation, this feeling of being watched, but as always, no one was there.
 “Why, me?” The sound of her voice did little to calm her anxiety. “I’m not going crazy, damn it. Who would even believe me if I told them?” She tipped her head to the ceiling and laughed at the idea of how she would sound to her friends and family, then gagged and sputtered from the spray of water.
The razor lifted from its cradle and crashed to the shower floor. The blade separated from its handle and ricocheted off the glass door. Sarah jumped, nearly losing her footing on the slippery enamel when she landed. This was no accident or coincidence. This confirmed she was not alone.

Hangover Round 2 Entry #5

GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

The Spell of the Black Magic Key unleashed the powers of darkness to wreak havoc on mankind. It’s now up to Bartholomew Berman to defend the world against the key. If the powers of the key aren’t stopped, all that is sacred and kind will find its end… vanish like the dinosaur.

I could hear madness all about me and I knew it could hear me too, for we were one with each other now. I could feel it all around me, in the air, slowly creeping in with the sunset. I suppose I knew now why there was always this fear inside me. I must have known this day would come, the day when darkness would enter. I felt it deep inside my soul knocking to get in, leaving me wondering why life always seemed to be that way. For just when you thought it was safe to just be… that’s when darkness would slip in unnoticed; then it was there… then it was there. Perhaps I let the night slip deep inside my soul, allowed it to enter…welcomed it to my world? But it wouldn’t matter now for I knew it had come. Perhaps I had even embraced it, wanted it; dared it to find me? Like the recurring dream I had each night I knew there would be no escape from this madness, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Our world was ours no longer, darkness and destruction was all that was left of a world that once was. Our world had changed, as swift as a mere second in time… it simply ticked no longer. We were all certain now of our ill-fated end, as madness rained its fury upon us like the damned that we became -- that we were! I would have no choice now but


Hangover Round 2 Entry #4

GENRE: MG Fantasy/Adventure

His best friend's a dork. The girl he likes is taken. His dad's trapped in the world behind the boiler room. Middle school sucks.

The beast looked around, a syrupy line of spit dangling from its jaws as it sniffed the air in every direction.

It threw its head back and roared. The sound echoed through the hallway. As the silence found its way back into the school, the monster stepped out of the boiler room.

Asher stopped. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before.

Bigger than a gorilla. The head of a wolf. Two devil horns made of evil and claws that could shred concrete.

Whatever this thing is, Asher thought to himself, it was made for one thing and one thing only. To-

And before Asher could finish, the monster shot orange lasers out of its eyes and stumbled past the actor playing Mr. Holcomb.

“Oh my God that was lame,” Asher said, turning down the volume on the small TV in the kitchen.

His mom scooted the eggs around in the pan in front of her. “Sweetie, turn that back up, I was watching it,” she said and hit the volume up button without giving Asher a chance to.
Asher listened to the news reporter interview the real Mr. Holcomb as the dramatic and incredibly stupid scene replayed behind her. Mr. Holcomb had been on the news before. They seemed to love him. He always had some crazy story or conspiracy to share and they always had local actors help recreate whatever he was going on about that week. Apparently this time he had opened up the boiler room at Asher’s school and let out a demon.

Hangover Round 2 Entry #3 (REDACTED)


Hangover Round 2 Entry #2

Title: Secrets Awakened
Genre: YA SF

When Kyle and Cimber, 14-year-old mute twins labeled defective in a perfect domed society, undergo socio-regulatory implantation, their latent talents become powerful abilities. Rictor, the ruthless leader of the Shadows law enforcement, discovers their abilities and swears to make them his. To avoid Rictor’s sinister plans, the twins must escape the domes and find life in the decimated Wilds.

     Ten minutes past dimming time, someone pounded on the entrance to the family quarters. Cimber grabbed Kyle’s arm and stared into her twin brother’s hazel eyes. Nothing good came from a visit after dimming time. Only officials on business were permitted to travel the domes during the dim.
     Kyle pulled his sister closer as they sat side by side on the floor between the only furniture in the thirty-foot square common room. The four upholstered arm chairs were pulled close to create a comfortable alcove. They turned as one to see their father, pulling a thin plaid robe over his naked torso and pajama pants as he entered the common room.
     “Arla, stay,” he said holding up a hand to his wife who clung to the doorway of their sleeping room.
     As Father yanked two of the chairs back into place he stopped and stared down at his fourteen-year-old twins. He pointed to them with two fingers, flicked his hand over his shoulder and drew his thumb down his jaw line as he said, “Go to your mother.”
     Hand in hand the twins hurried away as their father repositioned the other two chairs.
     The visitor pounded again.
     “Did you have trouble with the children earlier this cycle?” Greg asked as he hurried to the keypad by the door.
     Arla shook her head as the twins slid their arms around her waist.
     “Work?” Arla’s voice wavered as she called softly across the room.

Hangover Round 2 Entry #1

Genre: MG Sci-Fi

A daydreaming Jimmy Ranfaz is heralded as the saviour of Ulfitron. But when he bombs out of super-power training, a journey to discover his true potential leads him to a chilling revelation: he’s the villain reincarnated.

The heroics of J-Man and the bashing of the three-headed villains was interrupted by an innocuous text message.

 Jimmy flicked open the text from Aaron. It’s out. Check the website.

He didn’t even need to check the website. J-Man’s kryptonite had arrived; a whole planet load of it.  

“Just one A!” His father’s voice boomed through the house.  

Jimmy cursed the invention of computers, the internet and especially the wise chap who’d thought of publishing term results on the school website.

 “Get down here this instant, Jimmy,” roared his father.

Jimmy drudged out of his room. The lecture was a bi-annual fixture. What surprised him was how fast his Dad noticed that results were out. The last record stood at an entire two minutes and three seconds. Sadly, now it stood shattered thanks to Dad’s super-power of sensing when term-results were due.

As he reached the first landing, he found his dad pacing up and down the hall, fuming like a pitbull whose favourite chew-toy had vanished. He stopped when he caught sight of Jimmy and glowered.

“What is the meaning of this?” he waved a sheet of paper.

Great! He’s already got a print-out.

“When I was your age…”

“…I got straight A’s with my eyes closed.” Jimmy mumbled the rest of the sentence.

The rest of the lecture pretty much went the tried and tested route and J-Man’s had blasted off to another nebula in his head, till his brain registered the words ‘…or you are grounded.’

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hangover Round 1 Entry #50

Title:  The Legend of Tairn Gire
Genre:  Middle Grade Fantasy

When the partnership between a mysterious sorcerer and evil spirit threatens to destroy Tairn Gire, Prince Agmund must fight for his kingdom or lose everything.

Prince Agmund burst through the iron gate, tripped over a tree’s massive root, then fought off a limb attacking from the side, all to get to a simple round stone outside the castle gardens—the only company he wanted.
               “Different day, similar scenario,” the thirteen-year-old mumbled when he caught his breath.
The air stung his face and hands as he struggled against the wind. He slowed when he reached the spot, and dropping on the ground, gathered his knees to his chest.
Some magical life, he thought, and he watched as bud tipped branches bobbed in agreement.
Unlike him, nature was starting over in Majorca, a coastal town where thundering waves colliding on shore was as common as the grating laugh of woodland Capercaillie Grouse. Rock strewn beaches gave way to fields and forests, and a few lonely summits separated them from the next town over. A chilly gust tousled Agmund’s brown curls, and he closed his eyes and tried to remember. Smiling, he touched the stone, but the damp coldness was a painful reminder. Someone coughed and he was back.
“Yer Highness, Balthasar is lookin’ for yeh,” said a young maidservant sent to find him.
His lesson … he forgot, but he was in such a hurry he hadn’t even eaten his breakfast.
“Thank you,” said Agmund, “tell him I’ll be there shortly.”
“Aye, Yer Highness.”                                                         
He was late. This wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last, but his father was joining them this morning.