For the next month, I’ll be celebrating my novel’s publication anniversary. For all my awesome Sunday Snippet friends – I’m offering you an opportunity to win a GRAND prize. Enter your name in the rafflecopter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon GC, signed print copy of The Guardian’s Wildchild, a travel mug, and your personal crystal. See details on https://featherstoneauthor.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=941&action=edit If you have time, you might enjoy the short story below, A KISS For the Acquisition Editor.
The Guardian’s Wildchild, published by Omnific Publishing September 26, 2011
- Murder Mystery
- Suspense / Thriller
- Paranormal / Supernatural
- Post-apocalyptic / Dystopian
When I started writing The Guardian’s Wildchild, my genre vision focused on suspense and supernatural. By chapter two, my ego and my wee muse were engaged in a battle for dominance. I focused on a plot of murder, time travel, and underground agents. When flames of romance ignited between the two main characters I growled at my muse. The muse smirked.
Meet my muse – all three inches. She’s a miniature Cruella De Vil. Like some muse types, she’s got a mouth that will make a sailor blush, much of which I insist on censoring. She’s got what it takes to tangle with killers, yet swoons over dark eyed men in uniform. She’s not easy, but dirt cheap. A supply of Mars bars and we’re good to go.
Our problem? Every time I insisted she surrender to my writing authority, the visions slowed to a trickle and the characters stood mute on the sidelines, waiting. Waiting for me to go back to the point where I stopped listening to Madame Cruella. So I deleted the offending paragraphs to the trash. Ugh! The inspirations then resumed so rapidly it became a trial for my fingers to keep pace on the keyboard.
Years later ….
The publisher’s acquisition editor asked, “What is the genre of The Guardian’s Wildchild?”
Oh God, what do I tell her? I felt like grabbing the muse off my shoulder and thrusting her onto the editor’s desk. “You friggin tell the editor what is the genre of your story!” Of course, the wee agent of story land simply produced that familiar smirk.
I stood at the editor’s doorway, shifting from one foot to the other. “Genre? You want just one genre?”
“Okay,” replied the slim woman holding my future in her hands, “maybe two, or three at the most.” Her manicured hand motioned for me to sit in a lovely rattan chair in front of her desk. Long sweeping stems of tropical ferns arched toward the ceiling. The paw of a sleeping white puppy draped over the edge of the ‘in’ basket.
I sat on the edge of the chair as though it might collapse under my trembling weight. “Just three? But, you see, it’s a murder mystery in the year 2040, twenty years after the Great Quake. Post-apocalyptic dystopian, right? The murdered woman’s husband, Sam Waterhouse is a naval officer and is accused of treason. His sons are apprehended by the admiral and he is assigned as captain of a naval merchant ship to carry out the Admiral’s nefarious deeds.”
In horror, I saw Cruella fanning herself with the puppy’s ear and smoking a joint. I hissed, “Don’t smoke in front of the puppy, you knitwit.” The editor smiled stiffly.
I forged ahead. “The admiral forces Waterhouse to deliver stolen crystals to Madame. And she wants them so her scientists can figure out how the South American tribe used them. They appeared to possess god-like powers – before she killed them.” I glanced into the editor’s face. “So, you see, the genre is also suspense and paranormal, er, supernatural.”
“I see.” She didn’t sound convinced.
“Yes, but then the Guardians – .”
“The Guardians? Not more guardians!”
I jacked up my fortitude and continued. “They are omnipotent, but also benevolent humans. They know that all humans were once Guardians, but most gave up their powers millennium ago for the sake of physical desires. Anyway, the Guardians don’t want Madame to learn how to use the sun crystals. It will be the destruction of the planet and humanity. So they send one of their own, Sidney, to stop Madame. They call her Wildchild because she – .”
The editor stood up as if to terminate the meeting. “And this Wildchild stops Madame and saves the world, blah, blah, blah.”
I swallowed. “Oh, no. The Admiral catches her. When Wildchild tried to escape she is wounded. The Admiral sends her to Waterhouse for execution. Captain Waterhouse is surprised that her bullet wound healed so quickly. Curious to know more about her, he delays the execution.”
The editor frowned. “Let me guess. They fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. “
The muse crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. Go figure, but she doesn’t like know-it-all types. “Happily ever after? In a word, no. Well, partly. Romance is a strong motivating factor for Sam Waterhouse to reconsider his desire for revenge. However, the cost to him and Wildchild is beyond his comprehension. Or the reader’s ability to predict.” Cruella snickered.
The editor sauntered toward Cruella and me. “Are you saying this story’s ending is unique?”
I chuckled. “Yep, absolutely. Actually shocking for some.”
The editor’s hand slowly reached for my manuscript. “You’re certain?”
I bounced on the tips of my toes and grinned. “We use the KISS formula. Keep It Super Sensational.”