In fact, down to this last contest, Jessica and I had very different favorites. All the same, we managed to choose a winner and two runners-up.
And the winner is...
Anonymous 11:41 pm — Wicked Little Things
They blew into Ordinary like cicadas on a blistery summer’s night. Thousands landed in trees and wood. They came, stole and ate like pigs. Yet no one knew what they were because they were never seen. Only the results of their voracious hunger left marks, like the fangs of a demon on another beast’s throat.
In this case, the victims were human.
Two by September.
Five after that.
Hundreds by Halloween.
Maya read the report until her eyes burned and she no longer thought of the victims as people, just mangled, chewed-up chunks of meat. “Great way to lose weight.”
Jessica: I was really intrigued by this. I wasn’t sure based on these words if this was paranormal or a straight, contemporary romantic suspense. Either way, it left me with a lot of questions that I really wanted answers to. I like the comparison to the cicadas and I like where this left me hanging, gruesome murders that obviously need to be solved. This also hints at the kind of cop romantic suspense I really like to see.
Kim: I love the imagery of the cicadas and find the comparison creepy and memorable. Nothing beats a dark, foreboding beginning. One thing that threw me, though, was that last bit of dialogue. It totally changed the tone. Without reading more, it’s hard to tell if it’s the author’s intention to jolt the reader this way. Because it did catch me off guard, I’d continue to read to see where it’s going.
Congrats, Anonymous! When you’re ready for your critique, please go ahead and send your query letter, synopsis, and first chapter to the e-mail link on the blog.
Now on to the runners-up . . .
Anonymous 5:01 pm - Whispered
“I'm alive.” The words met Twyla Segreto's lips, but no sound accompanied them.
Dry, hot air reeked of death. A single breath became impossible without coating her mouth and throat from the unsettled debris. The urge to cough up the dust bunnies residing in her lungs, overwhelmed her. She suppressed and listened for enemy footsteps. In the distance, the steady pat of automatic weapons echoed. Somewhere further away, a crackling whistle sound filled the stagnant atmosphere. Explosions grumbled through the sky and the ground trembled from the assault, indicating the missile had made contact with its target.
Jessica: I like the atmosphere here and the story this sets us up for. It’s creepy, scary, and we immediately want to know about where Twyla has been and where she is going. Great description.
Kim: I got thirsty just reading this. :) So the setting really came alive for me. I’m wondering if Twyla’s words are just self-affirming, or if she’s been left for dead and it’s a cry for help. Whatever the case, the danger feels imminent, and I want to see how she’ll get out of this mess.
Deborahdale — Canyon Road
"Are you lost?" The man's soft voice startled her. He stood in the V of her car and open door, his face in shadows, backlit by the store's fluorescents.
She hadn't noticed anyone in the parking lot. Where did he come from?
"No. I'm okay." She reached to pull the door closed but he stood in the way. Damn these helpful Midwesterners, they took niceties way too far. Oh, to be back in New York. "You need to move."
To her shock, he leaned in closer, rested an arm on the doorframe. "Well, here's the thing . . . I need your car."
Jessica: This one spoke to me instantly. The opening sounds very commercial and interesting and I really liked the casualness of the hijacker’s “request.” There are a lot of interesting possibilities as to where this book can go and I hope the author is pushing her limits.
Kim: I liked this one because even though the situation seems very threatening, I have a feeling the hijacker could also turn out to be the romantic hero. I, too, am intrigued by the story’s potential. Who doesn’t love a slightly dangerous hero?
Well, that wraps up the winners and runners-up for our 100 Words Contest! Tomorrow we’ll talk about our honorable mentions, and in the coming days we’ll have some wrap-up comments.
Thanks again to everyone who entered!