Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What The 2012 ABNA Experts Thought of The Shadow Harvest

Mind you, this was only based off of the first ten pages, so you can imagine that my second novel, The Shadow Harvest, is even more compelling than the few pages the experts were allowed to read. The unfortunate part is that the experts didn't get the pitch to go along with the first ten pages of my manuscript, so they couldn't fully grasp how the story could possibly unfold. See below the pitch that they were unable to read. I will be releasing the first ten pages at some point here on my blog, so that you guys can tell me what you think.


                                                      The Shadow Harvest

Most teenagers believe that they are immortal, but unlike fifteen-year-old Vincent, they are wrong. As strange accidents befall hundreds of teenagers around the world, Vincent is unknowingly recruited to fight a secret, supernatural conflict that spans back to the earliest days of human civilization. He soon learns the dark truth about some immortals and their ability to exert an invisible influence over every aspect of humankind’s modern society.
Immortals are not gods, though some have chosen to be worshipped as such. They are not wizards, but can perform acts filled with great magic when it serves them. Although they are not vampires, many of them prefer to deal with humans from behind the cloak of a specter in the shadows of the night. Now, for the first time in thousands of years, immortals have been blessed with the ability to have children, yet, at the same time, cursed with the possible theft of their own immortality.
When Vincent becomes ensnared with a forbidden love from his past, he discovers that deceit, jealousy, and lust capture his once perfect heart. As his friends become enemies, his enemies become his only source of redemption. When the face of wickedness is revealed, and true love slips like grains of sand through his fingers, the good that Vincent has done in the service of strangers seems pointless when he is unable to stop the death of his closest friend.
In The Shadow Harvest, some immortals will risk everything for love, while others struggle to collect power and fame. One will fight for honor, while another seeks redemption for past sins. Vincent comes to understand that his immortality is an enchanted gift, and like all enchanted gifts, it has rules. The spell of life everlasting can be broken, and he, like anyone else, can die.


Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Reviews

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

In my opinion, the strongest aspect of this story is the actual writing itself. There are lots of descriptual details, giving me an excellent mental image of what everybody looks like and what it must be like to be waiting down there for the subway. I can almost see the littered pavement and feel the grunge of it all. I like Jak. He seems to really care for his brother as he attempts to get Vincent to turn from his wicked ways and come back home with him. It seems like a good story so far.

What aspect needs the most work?

As of right now, I don't have any complaints or think anything needs any work as far as the writing is concerned. The characters are well drawn and are as believable as two immortal characters can be. It seems the plot could use a unique twist, though. I have read so many books about supernatural creatures duking it out here on Earth, I'm not sure what there is about this particular story that makes it different from all the others I've read. The first group is bent on human destruction, the second group is determined to save humans from the first group. So far, I don't see anything uniquely different about this plot. I still like the way this story is written, though.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

Overall, I like it so far. I like Jak, he seems like he has a good head on his shoulders. Everyone should have a brother like him. The author gives us rich and numerous details, which I love. Although I have read many seemingly similar books, I still do enjoy this particular plot. Overall, I like the direction the story is going.

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

Shades of Highlander, the Immortals have returned! Throw in a little brother against brother feud and the possibility that some hybrid offspring may pose a threat to Immortals and you have the beginnings of what could have been an epic saga. Even if the author didn't intend it to be so, it's not hard to find parallels between the conflicts of immortals and humans to those between the powerful and ordinary citizens in our own very mortal world.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

More Rare Than You May Think.

Opportunity Air

I booked a one-way ticket on Opportunity Air.
From where I’d be going, I wouldn’t want to return.
I rolled my luggage into the airport
Passed through a body scanner
Then bought myself a drink.
 I waited at the gate.
The monitor said my flight was delayed.
I watched other passengers board planes
But they weren’t flying Opportunity Air.
I was eager to get to my destination.
I stared at my crumpled boarding pass.
I’d pulled it from my pocket a dozen times
Making sure I had the right flight number.
It’d been hours, yet the monitor hadn’t changed.
When I asked if the flight had been cancelled,
I was informed that the plane would arrive any minute.
However, hours passed
And then days
And then weeks.
My tattered boarding pass became barely legible.
Yet, I was eager to get to my destination, so I waited
Planes landed and planes took off, but never my plane.
I thought of silly little rhymes to pass the time.
“I’ve booked a one-way ticket on Opportunity Air
But the plane never comes, and I’m going nowhere.”
I waited at the gate until I was at the brink of insanity.
Until suddenly I realized, I wasn’t on the cusp of insanity—
I had been insane all along.
At last I’d reached mental clarity.
I gathered my belongings
Took a taxi to the bus station
Then boarded a bus home on Mediocrity Trailways.   

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Civil War

by Jessica Clower

The story I’m about to tell you is about two men.
They both shared the same last name, and to each other they were kin.
They didn’t know one another, though they were both from the same town.
And each left their home, and wife, and family to fight on battlegrounds.
A civil war throughout a nation raged that threatened to tear north and south apart.
Six hundred and twenty thousand men died, leaving a barrage of tattered, broken hearts.
Year one…year two… year thee…year four… soldiers and time kept marching on.
Blistered…exhausted…hungry…ravaged…memories that would never be gone.
A mild July day in Manassas, Virginia the major bloodshed would all begin.
Nine hundred would fall on Henry Hill as Union and Confederates clamored for a win.
Cannon fire boomed then echoed and rattled the once peaceful green and grassy land.
The crimson spilt here that soaked the earth would seep through more green hills and later expand.
In quiet, pensive moments, men with leathered hands would into their shirt gently stich their name.
Contemplatively facing certain death, they wanted their body to be able to be claimed.
In haunting places battles were waged on the same ground where battles had been fought before.  
Skulls and bones scattered about, fire tore through the Wilderness to scorch and consume even more.
“Home, dear home, such a distant place, will my body ever seek refuge there?
Spare me from this most ghastly fate and the foul stench of this cadaverous air.
Mercy I seek for my wretched soul; please hear my penitent cry and plea.
The blood of my brother I have shed, what dark judgment shall be passed upon me?”
Four years of inescapable horror would decimate solider and family alike.
Then at last the final ebbing came that diminished the abysmal violence that had spiked.
At Appomattox Courthouse a surrender signified the end had come at last.
The barely-living, defeated soldiers had earned nothing more than a safe-conduct pass.
“The bearer has permission to go to his home and there remained undisturbed.”
To this the recipients of this writ commission were not at all perturbed.
The two men I mentioned before, what part in all of this do they both play?
One hundred and fifty years have passed since that mild Virginia, July day.
One is my grandfather with a few greats before his name.
The other is my brother who bears the same surname.
Pulled from the very same hometown, he enters into a new war.
A new embattled generation like our ancestors before.
One hundred and fifty years have passed, but peace it is not found.
Is this the fate our grandfathers wanted to have to us passed down? 
Never-ending conflict, if not for one thing then for another.
How many widows and orphans are left when we lose our brothers?
The man who bears the same last name lost his life in that conflict long since passed.
His name is the only thing I know of him, the only thing that still lasts.
Will another man who shares his name also share his fate?
These are the questions of war that a family must await.
Let us pray for the fulfillment of the words of Isaiah chapter two, verse four.
“Nation will not lift up sword against nation; neither will they learn war anymore.”