a picture is worth derek gores1


On the third week of each month writers post to a prompt.

What fun. I’ve discovered another blogger, Denise Covey My Writing Blog, who is maybe, just maybe, as crazy about writing as I am. She hosts WEP: write, edit, publish blog hop: Visit other bloggers showing an image that inspired their writing. July’s theme is “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I’m new on this hop. It looks like so much fun, I had to join up. The image I’m sharing is of “MADAME,” a truly evil character in The Guardian’s Wildchild. She’s discovered crystals which have the potential to grant the user anything. The trick is to discover how to connect with the crystal’s power. She has murdered and stolen to acquire the power of a god. Only a Guardian can stop her.  Here is an excerpt from The Guardian’s Wildchild where Madame has hired scientists to study the beautiful rock.




Year 2039

In hushed voices, the six scientists debated the lunacy of Madame’s outlandish claim. They were waiting The Guardian's Wildchild cover_450x679-001for her in thebasement of the administration building on Admiral Garland’s naval base. Two armed military personnel stood guard outside the door. The walls were as gray as the sinking mood of the six men and women who’d accepted the million dollar annual salary in exchange for an opportunity to resolve the planet’s energy crisis.

Madame was an enigma. It was understood that she was highly intelligent and had unlimited wealth. She called no place home. She owned a highly trained militia, which was positioned in strategic locations across the planet. She had become a “person of interest” in the national security offices of many governments. Some believed she was an evil omen and had evolved out of the terror that had gripped humanity during the Great Quake.

Some might have liked to explain to this “ice woman,” who no one ever dared address as anything less respectful or more personal than “Madame,” that they were unavailable to assist with her project. Two scientists experienced with Madame and her reputation had revealed that working for her meant both wealth and personal risk. Anyone accepting a position with her was hers to do with as she pleased until the project was successfully completed. Then again, opportunities for research work since the Great Quake of 2020 were rare. Survival and rebuilding had taken precedence over research.

When Madame entered the room, the waiting scientists nodded and offered mumbled greetings. She ignored their approach and marched to the table. Two men dressed in dark suits shadowed her every move. With a swift stroke of her hand, Madame motioned for all to sit.

One refused. The woman stood fidgeting with her hands. “Madame, I’ve changed my mind. I’d like to leave. Now, please.” Madame turned to the female and casually stepped toward her. With uncharacteristic softness, Madame said, “Of course, my dear. I appreciate your change of heart. What area was, er, is your expertise? So that we may find a replacement, you understand.”

“Physics, Madame.”

“Ah, yes. You’re Katherine Turner.” Madame patted the scientist’s arm.

“Goodnight, my dear.” Madame then placed a brief kiss on the scientist’s cheek. “Mr. Smith will obtain transportation for you.” Miss Turner walked to the door, flushed almost as bright as the red lipstick stain on her face, and left, never to be seen again. As the door closed behind her, two of the other scientists turned pale and glanced nervously at each other.

There was nothing soft about Madame. From her short gray hair and chiseled features to her clenched fists and rigid stance, she exuded self-control and mastery over all. Her feminine qualities were carefully cloaked. Pretty blue eyes were barely visible behind shaded lenses, and her slim frame was concealed under a man’s black business suit. Speaking in her monotone voice, she reminded those remaining in the room of the requirement for strict confidentiality.

They nodded.

“Zero tolerance. Is that clear? Any breach of your silence will be fatal.” She enunciated each word, and then paused briefly. The men and women shifted in their chairs, avoiding eye contact with her. “You’ve received the information package. Any questions?”

The scientist least experienced with Madame replied. “Yes, Madame. I presume, however, that this information is just rumor. It’s quite bizarre, really. No evidence. At least none that’s — ”

“It’s no rumor.” Madame smiled. “I personally witnessed the events,” she said in almost a whisper. She paused, and her gaze drifted away from the group, not fixed on anything in particular. Her mind traveled to a jungle village in South America. “I saw primitive people perform miracles using crystals, sun crystals, they called them. These sun crystals responded to their touch. Whatever was commanded materialized instantly. Perhaps a type of psychic connection.”

Madame turned her back on the scientists, her face grimacing from the frustration of having to admit her failure. Glancing at each other, the scientists’ smirks betrayed a reluctance to indulge in the woman’s fantasy. She turned, thrust her hand into her pants pocket and tossed a brilliant object into the air. Shards of light danced, illuminating the corners of the room.

A rainbow of colors played on the faces of the startled scientists. Before it fell to the table, Madame grabbed it and displayed it in her open hand. “There you have it — the sun crystal,” she said.

It was magnificent — a multifaceted blue green crystal encased within a clear crystal.

“It will power our machinery, grant unending summers, and transform water to wine. And you, my dear scientists, with the assistance of Admiral Garland, are going to unleash the crystal’s power.” She paused and snorted.

“Too bad that miserable tribe died with their secrets.” Tossing the crystal across the table, she announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, the kingdom of the gods is within our grasp.”

One year later, on a cold spring evening, the scientists stood in breathless silence. Deep within the admiral’s New Seattle Base, their laboratory still glowed from the light which had emanated from the crystal. The glass of water resting on the counter was now sweet red wine. Captain Butchart smiled and slipped away.

Do you believe in the power of the Guardians?
Do you believe in the power of the Guardians?

7 thoughts on “JULY WEP CHALLENGE

  1. Hi Feather, and welcome to WEP. It is great that you’ve shared part of your WIP as an entry. That picture of ‘Madam’ certainty encapsulates the woman in that excerpt. You’ve created an atmosphere of suspense in the room. Makes me wonder what happened to the native tribe. Makes me wonder what happened to that woman who decided she’d had enough.

    I read other posts while here. You’re right about romance. I have to rewrite my romance to fit a strict criteria for Harlequin. Some of the editor’s suggestions make my story better, but other’s kill the story. Difficult.

    You seem open to critique. What I noticed was starting three sentences in a row with ‘She’ in the second paragraph. I have to watch that myself which is probably why I picked it up. Also, I would have liked more description of ‘Madam’ earlier to suit this format.

    But I loved your story and am eager to read more. The next challenge is TAKING CHANGES.



  2. Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    I’m new with this hop. I didn’t realize the work is suppose to be WIP. I will post pieces of Forbidden next time. Yes, critiques are tough. My last one wanted me to follow a formula. I simply can’t. I accept the parts of the critique that I know have value, the disregard the rest. Please do continue to make suggestions. I checked the other blogs, didn’t find that everyone has posted yet, so I’ll check back tomorrow. Thank you for hosting this excellent hop, Denise.


  3. Hello Feather, nice to meet you. I enjoyed your excerpt, especially in the things left unsaid. Nice sinister touch in the dialogue and descriptions. The end para felt a bit abrupt to me, but I assume that’s probably due to the word count requirement. Definitely like to read more.
    Best wishes,


  4. I’m sorry for giving you the impression that your post has to be a WIP…no, no, no. It can be anything, written especially for the hop, or a suitable excerpt from a WIP. Your post was great.



  5. Madam definitely sounds interesting, and one of those who shouldn’t be crossed. The kind of villain a reader loves to hate. I was pulled into the story, and would like to read more. Crystal are fascinating, and magic ones, even more so.


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