Author of Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Birthday Blowout First Page Contest with Victoria Marini

Here is my entry for the Birthday Blowout First Page Contest with Victoria Marini.  Happy Birthday, Shelley.  Thank you for giving us all a gift for your birthday :D

Email address: rebeccatlittle@aol.com
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Title: Blood Thief
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 65K

First page (250 words):
(With re-write)

"It's Celeste, anybody home?" I called out cheerily, but received no answer as I headed to Catherine’s brightly-lit kitchen. I've seen enough death. I should have recognized what I was seeing, but I stood there frozen looking at Catherine. She was sprawled on the floor, her head severed. A dark pool of blood was spreading out beneath her, the red a stark contrast against the cool white tile. I stared a bit before my brain made sense of what I was viewing.


Sinking to my knees, I sobbed. Losing those you love is part of being a vampire, but it always hurts. Wiping red tears, I got to my feet. My friend was gone.  She’d given all to protect the reliquary vital to my bloodline.  I would see it safe. I sped silently through her darkened living room, fearing the worst. Holding my breath, I ripped open the bottom panel of the Grandfather clock. A relieved exhalation escaped me as my hand found the heart-shaped enameled glass vessel that held the comingled essences of my bloodline. This was the safety and source of our vampiric abilities.

Stepping outside into the dark pre-dawn hours, I opened my phone to check the time, squinting at the bright screen. Snapping it shut, I realized my mistake as faint footsteps followed me. I'd taken the reliquary from its hiding place and whoever had killed Catherine was now somewhere behind me, waiting on the chance to take it. I had played right into their hands.


(Before re-write)
"It's Celeste, anybody home?" I called out, but received no answer as I headed to Catherine’s brightly-lit kitchen. I've seen enough death that I should have recognized what I was seeing, but I stood there frozen as I looked at Catherine. She was sprawled on the floor, her head severed. A dark pool of blood was spreading out beneath her, the red a stark contrast against the cool white tile. I stared for a bit before my brain registered what I was viewing. When it did, I knew what I must do.

Catherine was the Keeper. She guarded the reliquary vital to our bloodline. Now, temporarily, that task would fall to me as few members knew where it was secreted away. I moved silently through her darkened living room. Barely daring to breathe, I opened the panel at the bottom of the Grandfather clock. A relieved exhalation escaped me as I lifted the reliquary from its hiding spot. My fingers caressed the heart-shaped enameled glass vessel that held the comingled essences of my bloodline. This was the safety and source of our vampiric abilities.

Stepping outside into the dark pre-dawn hours, I opened my phone to check the time, squinting at the bright screen. Snapping my phone shut, I realized my mistake as faint footsteps followed me. I'd taken the reliquary from its hiding place and whoever had killed the Keeper was now somewhere behind me, waiting on the chance to take it. I had played right into their hands.

7 comments:

Michelle said...

So, vampire book! Very cool. I like how you opened the book with our MC coming into a new situation, it helps the reader adjust slowly and that's good.

Good luck!

ulleseit said...

Oh, nice beginning. I think you missed an opportunity to really ramp it up, though. After the first paragraph, have Celeste rush toward the grandfather clock, maybe hear a noise...have her show some emotion...and fill in the background details of the relic as you go, in bits. good luck!

Brenda Drake said...

Loved this! Agree with ulleseit's suggestions, but your story did pull me in right away. I definitely want to read on. Great job and good luck! :D

Brigid Gorry-Hines said...

Creepy! I'm a little turned off by someone's head getting severed on the first page ... but hey, at least it's intriguing! I agree you could show more emotion in Celeste, though. I understand she's used to dealing with death, but even so I think she'd be a little more horror-stricken and paranoid upon finding something so awful.

Lori M. Lee said...

Very interesting start. I think you could skip the first couple sentences completely and just start right with "I've seen enough death that I should have recognized it." Also, I think "recognize" is the wrong word here. It's not that she didn't recognize it, it's that she seems to be in shock. So maybe "I shouldn't have been surprised" or something along that line.

Also, another concern is that I don't have any sense of the MC. She sees a murder, she's shocked, she quickly locates the reliquary, and she rushes out to realize she's fallen for a trap. Okay, lots of action, but not enough character or voice. At this point, I know nothing about Celeste other than that she's a vampire.

It's hard to balance both action and voice, but I'm sure you can do it. Good luck!

Sarah said...

I agree with what everyone is saying. Some personal moment to anchor us into the MC's emotions, a quick memory she has to push away, or something like that might make it easier to get a handle on who she is. I do love a lot of the details and it seems like there might be an interesting angle with the reliquary. That sparked my interest.

Rebecca T. Little said...

@lori - actually recognize is correct here. Many years ago I worked in photography. I was asked to process some crime scene photos and the experience I had with those photos is what I was aiming to recreate. It reads better in the full text, but condensing to 250 words causes some of the impact to be lost. I looked at those photos and there was this delay before I could figure out just what I was looking at because it was so very horrific. When it did click, I wanted to puke...and I'm not easily sickened. That was the reaction I wanted Celeste to have.

Thank you all for you valuable input, I do appreciate it very much and, hopefully, I've incorporated those suggestions in a way that will be beneficial. Thanks again!

R.