Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Test Run #4

TITLE: Reality 346181 - Safe Place
GENRE: YA Sci-fi

“Yusef, get up man. Don’t make me pour water on you.” Ibram pulled his foot up onto my bed to tie his shoelace. My big brother usually made a good roommate, until he forgot to be my friend and changed into my dad.
“Get your foot off my bed.” I kicked him from under the sheets.
He kicked me back.
“Ouch! You’ve got your shoes on man.” I pulled the blanket back and rolled out of bed.
Ibram winced at the sight of me and hid his face. “Little bro, you are so skinny. You need to work out more.”
 “Torvald’s helping me train.” I ran my hands through my shaggy, black hair, searching the floor for something to wear.
“Training you for what? A dog show?”
“I’ve gained five pounds.”
 “Since you were twelve?” He laughed at his own joke.
“No, in like the last... I don’t need to tell you this.” I found a pair of matching socks and pulled them on. First triumph of the day.
“Maybe one day you’ll be able to stop me from beating the wreck out of you.” Ibram put his jacket on to head to his first class.
“Maybe I already can.” I stood up and puffed out my brown chest. It only made him laugh more.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but did I just hear a challenge escape your lips? If I didn’t feel obliged to go to school I might take you up on it. Put you back in your place. As it is, we’ll never know.” He opened the dorm room door and with a flourish and a wink he turned and stepped out into the hall.
Ibram always made a good bully. Lucky for me he was usually on my side. He only pestered me when it didn’t really count. We wouldn’t have been able to room together at a regular school, but Young Adult Colligate combined High School and College so the students could narrow their field of studies sooner. I wanted to be a physicist. Ibram was into programing. If anybody was a nerd, he was. He’d probably argue if he knew I said that, but I could take him on. He owned two computers, I only had one, plus my laptop, but that didn’t count.
Tuesday mornings I had a spare. I usually went down to the computer lab, but my inability to find a clean shirt put a chink in my schedule. I sat down at my own computer and wiped the goop out of my eyes.
“Time to wake up.” I directed my comment at the blank screen. The hard drive whirred and clicked like it couldn’t remember how to work. Maybe it needed a good kick too.
I used to be amazed by computers. Once upon a time my life revolved around them but these days not so much. I found it hard to go from a reality where technology was implanted in our skin and embedded in our glasses, back to a world where all we could invent was WiFi and touch screens. It seemed so basic to me now. The inter-dimensional universe had so much more out there - stuff that freaked the heck out of me when I first saw it. Sometimes I wondered why I chose to stay and finish school.

June Test Run #3

TITLE: The Last Innocent
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Suspense, Romance

He sat with his wings tucked neatly behind him on the roof of the old house located in the heart of the college district in Eugene, Oregon. Muffled music from the expensive speakers escaped through the warped rafters. The Warrior smiled. She was playing her favorite tunes again. The ones she played when life became too stressful. He envisioned her now, walking through the cramped rooms below, singing with abandon at the top of her lungs. How fast she had grown up.

The Warrior shook his head and tried remembering the others. Human time was just a blur for him. Surely he could recall at least one of his other assignments, but only bits and fragments surfaced. Mortals’ lives were over in the blink of an eye, and such a shame, too. These creatures possessed so much passion and hatred, with the capacity for abundant goodness and, sadly, equal ugliness. All of it rolled into one fragile package. No, the only details that came to his mind were the battles and carnage. No wonder he suppressed the memories.

Assignments, he chuckled aloud at his own thoughts. He could hear Michael’s scolding now, the beautiful Archangel lecturing him endlessly that protecting wards—mortals—was not an assignment, rather an honor of the highest regard. He could even picture Michael’s finely sculpted eyebrows arch in that way he had when masterfully weaving his words. How an angel could be so dangerous, so powerful, and yet so beautiful mystified him. He shook his head again. God, in all His omnipotence, was the only one who could answer that question; however, that question hadn’t made it on the list for when his time came to stand before the Almighty.

June Test Run #2

TITLE: My 7th Grade Life in Tights
GENRE: MG Humorous Contemporary

My downward spiral into the land of purple nurples and arm burns started when the sixth grade teachers announced an open call for talent show auditions.
Magic sets were dusted off, guitars restrung, jokes written and rewritten. For me, though, I didn’t need any of that.
Because I’m a dancer.
Okay, hold on, lemme explain something first. I’ve never actually been to a dance class. I pitched the idea to my mom and dad back in fourth grade, and after a few hours of crunching numbers they told me I could either choose to enroll in Sunnydale’s Elite Dance-SPLOSION after school academy or go the next ten years without lunch money.
It took me a full week to make up my mind but in the end I decided I’d never even make it a week at the academy without a lunch in my belly. Even if the school cafeteria’s spaghetti sauce was 99% grease and the tuna casserole smelled like day-old fart.
Besides, that academy was no joke. They had a reputation for being the toughest dance school in the state. In fact, rumor had it that Abby Lee learned her best stink-eye face from the head of the Dance-SPLOSION academy. I probably wouldn’t have survived there anyway.
So… like I said, I’m a dancer. Sort of. No official training but I’ve watched and rewatched every single episode of SYTYCD, DWTS, Dance Moms, and I’ve spent over one hundred dollars of my hard-earned allowance over the years buying every teach-yourself-to-dance DVD I could find on eBay.

June Test Run #1

TITLE: Nomags vs Gifted
GENRE: MG Fantasy
A shot whizzed by twelve-year-old Christian Derling and exploded on the ground behind him. That was close, he thought, but now I know where you’re atDirection, speed, angle—you must be right overZing. Christian saw the second attack coming just in time to duck out of the way. Too much thinking. Christian scampered behind a knobby sienna, the largest tree inhabiting the forests of Thuringia. Sitting between the gnarled roots of the tree, safe for the moment, he called out, “Molly.” She didn’t answer. Where was she? Some best friend. They were the last two. The Gifted he was hunting had eliminated all of the others. Two Nomags trying to capture one Gifted was not nearly enough. One Nomag was impossible.
He heard the crackling of branches breaking under the heavy feet of his larger foe. There would be no more chasing. So he wants to end it now. Ok. I’m ready. Christian hushed his breathing so he could listen. He did not want to end up like the others. The footsteps stopped on the far side of the tree. Smaller but quicker than his adversary, Christian knew a sneak attack was his best hope. Well, Molly was his best hope, but she’d abandoned him. Sweat ran down the back of his neck soaking through his shirt as he pressed himself against the tree. He climbed across the tops of the roots and around the trunk until he could see the wavy, sandy brown hair on the back of his target’s head. Knees bent, he prepared to strike.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June "Test Run" Critique Round Call for Submissions!!

*submission window has been extended to June 30 at 4 PM EDT!!*

It's time for another critique round, finally!!

Since the opportunity to score feedback on WIPs is one of the more popular critique rounds I offer, we'll do yet another "Test Run” session. This is for any first page. Whether your manuscript is finished and polished, it's a work-in-progress, or you only have the first page, this is the time to test it out on readers and get some honest, helpful feedback and support from your peers. If you've entered previous rounds, this is also a great opportunity to get feedback on your revisions.

From Thursday, June 27 at 10:00 PM EDT until Saturday, June 29 at 9:00 PM EDT I will accept submissions. I will post them on June 30 here at KTCROWLEY.COM for critiquing.

Please send submissions to ktcritiques [AT]

In the subject, please state "JUNE TEST RUN”.

This round I will accept all genres and it is one entry per person, per genre (So you can submit 1 adult 1 YA/MG).

Please list the TITLE, GENRE and your SCREEN NAME (I will not include screen names in the critique posts, these are for my purposes only. Your screen name is the name you'll use to critique others in the comments.) above your 250 words (format it the way you normally would). Please do not stop in the middle of a sentence. If it goes over the 250 limit by a couple of words, that's fine. If you stop at say, 235 words, that's fine, too.

Your submission should look like this:

SCREEN NAME: Your Screen Name Here
TITLE: Your Title Here
GENRE: Your Genre Here

(Excerpt here.)

Please leave out "chapter one," chapter "titles", etc. Otherwise, I may count them toward your 250 and you could lose some of your first page entry.

You will receive a confirmation email, but it may not be right away. Only resend if you don't get one by the last hour of the submission window.

Please check your submission(s) carefully for typos, grammatical errors, etc. before submitting. Once the submission is confirmed by email, it is set to automatically post. Double checking it first will ensure your writing is critiqued appropriately. ;-)

If you enter, you must critique at least 5 other submissions (if there are only five, please critique all). If you enter two first pages, please critique 10 (if there are less than 10 total, please critique all). This is so it's fair for everyone involved.

I will accept up to 25 entries.

That’s it! If you have any questions, please hit me up in the comments or send me an email at crowleykt [AT]

Spread the word please; the more, the merrier! Let's fill up this round and help everyone involved get as much feedback as possible. Also, if you're not a follower of my blog, please do so, so I can continue to offer rounds like this to help writers like you perfect your work. :)

Thank you all again for your support and participation; it truly makes a difference!!