Goodbye YA, hello NA

A Raven’s Revenge is going to deal with a lot of issues that really makes me feel that I’m stepping away from the YA category and going straight into NA.
For instance, there’s male rape/servitude (not sodomy), suicide, hints at child molestation, violent death scenes, hints at graphic sex, a curse word said in a fit of anger, and thoughts of hopelessness.
the old justice is dead
Mind you, the characters are literally going through Hell, so I couldn’t exactly let them off the hook and escaped unscathed. Every character is going to feel their own worst pain and that in itself is what I was going for in this story.
If you thought A Raven’s Touch was harsh, oh, this is probably not going to be the book for you. I don’t know how I’m going to get people to read it with so many warnings, but this is the story I want to tell so let’s see what happens.
The story is also one of courage, strength, and friendship. Friends who slay together stay together. ❤
If you haven’t picked up A Raven’s Touch here’s what it’s about:

Bullied through high school, seventeen-year-old Justice St. Michaels is grateful for the help of her best friend Moira O’Fhey. Their only wish is to graduate high school, leave the sleepy town of Fallingbrook and all that happened behind them. The Heavens have other plans. Between late night sleepwalking and being involved in explosive school fights, nothing seems to make sense. When an unexpected encounter with Darien Raventhorn causes worlds to collide it exposes the truth about Justice’s real identity. To avenge a family death, Justice must embrace her birthright, and slay a demon before all Hell breaks loose.

I wrote it with elements of Sailor Moon in mind, specifically Sailor Mars’ firepower. The characters stand up for themselves, kick ass, and fight for justice. I wanted a character who stood up to bullies and decided she wasn’t going to take it anymore.
Someone once told me that the first half of the book has nothing to do with the second half. I kind of think of it as Act 1 and Act 2. In the first act, Justice is dealing with school and normal issues, but when she finds out who she is, it’s all a rollercoaster ride of non-stop action. Act 2 is her dealing with her new identity and the role she has to step into as per God’s mission.
If you pick it up, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share your Amazon review URL below!
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Am I cheating on my story?

The more I write in The Time Runner, the more I feel like I’m cheating A Raven’s Revenge from being published. Sigh. I’m so close to producing a polished second draft with A Ravens’ Revenge. It would be a shame to let the story linger on hold while I chase down another story. Honestly. I hate being so torn.

This morning, I was thinking about the movie Constantine and I remembered how much I loved the Tilda Swinton character, Gabriel. Mind you, I loved the whole movie, but that one scene in particular when Gabriel meets Lucifer really gets me.


Just the way Lucifer walks in, and how he reacts to Gabriel calling him, “Son of perditionLittle HornMost unclean!

UUUUGH. It kills me. Tilda is PERFECTION when she throws her fist and calls for her “Father?”

THEN HER WINGS! Uuuuuugh. I just die. It’s such a moving scene for me. I pay homage to this scene in A Raven’s Revenge when Justice meets Lucifer.

As you can see, I have many feels about this scene. And such a spark is hard to let go. So… guess who is going back to working on A Raven’s Revenge? Ah, why do I do this to myself? Because I’m a writer and I’m fickle. There. I said it. Bah.

Either way, this will make me happy, so bring it on!

 

Bloggers, may I have your attention?

Where would writers be without an audience? As much as we like to say we’re writing for ourselves, nothing beats a beaming smile or a dampened cheek from tears from a reader. That said, I have a question I’d like to ask.

If you’re a verified account on Amazon and a YA/paranormal/fantasy fan I’d love to ask you to review A Raven’s Touch.

If you’re unfamiliar with my first novel, here’s the pitch.

PITCH

If you liked Mortal Instruments, this is similar with a variety of paranormal characters. There’s a half angel, a witch, a vampire, and an elf.

I can only accept verified reviewers at this time. In your comment below, please let me know you’ve added my email to your Kindle accepted list and I’ll send the file.

Add: lb.pa.team@gmail.com

Title: A Raven’s Touch

Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy story with a hint of horror.

Blurb:
Bullied through high school, seventeen-year-old Justice St. Michaels is grateful for the help of her best friend Moira O’Fhey. Their only wish is to graduate high school, leave the sleepy town of Fallingbrook and all that happened behind them. The Heavens have other plans. Between late night sleepwalking and being involved in explosive school fights, nothing seems to make sense. When an unexpected encounter with Darien Raventhorn causes worlds to collide it exposes the truth about Justice’s real identity. To avenge a family death, Justice must embrace her birthright, and slay a demon before all Hell breaks loose.Disclaimer: There’s a graphic suicide and bully violence but it’s handled rather well (so I’m told). Not recommended for those under 18.

Word count:
It’s 104K words


If you’d like to buy my book please check it out here:
http://amzn.to/2pvHtPx

A slight detour – Sample Chapter of The Time Runner

Even though I’m SO close to finishing A Raven’s Revenge, I have to admit that I’ve been spending more time with another WIP called The Time Runner. This story is completely different than anything I’ve ever written.

The story is centred around Cora who is a survivor of “The Day After” when bombs were dropped on civilians. She became an orphan at six years old and at sixteen signed up for the Resistance to fight the 10 Horsemen (those who dropped the bombs). The Resistance has developed a time travel device that will enable a well-skilled team to go back in time to save the world before global devastations.

Currently, I only have six chapters and they’re in a rough draft status, but the reviews I’ve received from the few betas who have read it has been very positive. I legit think I have a story that’s actually perfect for publishing. This story is unlike anything on the market and I think it will do really well.

As much as I hate to disappoint anyone waiting for A Raven’s Revenge, and believe me I LOVE this story, I’d love to actually take a shot at being published. Just to try it and see what happens is worth a shot.

Here are a few paragraphs so you can see why I’m in love:

 

The Time Runner by Linda Bloodworth (c) 2018

CHAPTER ONE

This is all wrong. I’m late. I’m not supposed to see him this soon. In his crisp white shirt, monogrammed cufflinks, and black suit jacket, the man in black walks by and tips his hat to me. I nod back just like the last 336 times. If I run now I can just make it. As I thunder down the hallway I jut my left hand out as I catch a baby that falls out of the pram. Without stopping to be thanked, I hand the child back to his bewildered parents.

Next up, I slide on the slippery floor in time to steady an elderly man from being pushed by a teenager with an oversized backpack. One more stop I tell myself as a beep from my wrist warns me I have a minute before the portal opens. There, on the ground, a small white dog’s leash is too relaxed next to an elevator about to close. Before the dog’s neck is pulled upward with the lift, I retract my blade tucked into my shirt sleeve and slash the leash as the dog lands with a yip and a confused owner thanks me with their eyes.

A beep at the halfway mark reminds me I haven’t a moment to spare as I turn to the women’s restroom marked out of service. I barely touch the door handle as the final beep rings out and the door dissolves into a portal. Without a second thought, I leap through and land on my feet in the training room.

“Well done Cora, I didn’t think you were going to make it this time,”

I don’t have to turn around to recognize the voice of my trainer, Justin Van Hooten.  

“Thanks for having my back,” I retort as I reset my wrist timer.

“Anytime,” he laughs.

I can joke about it, but Justin was the only trainer to give me the time of day since I didn’t come with papers. Other kids were born into the Resistance, their fate was decided as soon as they could walk. Ever since I was small I dreamed of being a Time Runner and helping fight back anyway I could.

The minute I turned sixteen I signed up. As an orphan, there was no one to stop me. It’s not like I heard any qualms from my foster parents. Suddenly, they couldn’t stop smiling at me. Every morning, the clock on the fridge greeted me with a countdown to when I would leave. Each sentence they spoke to me always started with, “When you start training…” and never ended with how they would miss me.

On my last day, they threw me the only party I’ve ever had. All of their friends showed up shaking their hands and completely ignored me. I ate my cake in my room after Mrs Kerbapple decided now was a good time to get tipsy and declare she was ready to party. Throughout school, I had never given them a reason to be upset. My report cards were decent, I did all my chores without complaining, yet I could always feel their resentment hanging on me like a yoke.

Now that I’m living full time on base, I can only imagine what they’re up to without me. Perhaps they got the chandelier fixed after the party?

“Let’s grab some grub before Commander Pride eats it for us,” Justin joked as he patted my shoulder.

Commander Pride’s appetite was no joke. At 6’5 and 230lbs of solid muscle, he had no problem sitting down to a meal or two. Who knows how much he could consume if the base only allowed him to eat at will. Being a tad over 5’6 I could hold my own. Continuous training had shaped my teenage body into a lean runner all right. Not that I was ever overweight, but I appreciated the tone and muscle I gained while being here. In the schoolyard, I always loved running through obstacle courses, hanging from the jungle gym, and climbing rope. The only difference here is now I’m being trained to fight against those who took our freedom.

I was barely old enough to recall the day everything changed. Mother had just put on the kettle for morning tea and I ate my breakfast. She told me about the fun I would have on my first day of school and asked what I would like to wear. I declared my dinosaur costume would make a great impression.

Her laugh was like a musical scale, light and beautiful. When sunlight caught her hair, natural blond highlights shone through an ash coloured mane. With hair down to the middle of her back, my father used to tease her for being a throwback hippy.

If only I had fully inherited her hair. Instead, my wavy ash hair had a smattering of red highlights. Father insisted it came from his side way down the line. I’ll never forget how she smiled at me that day. Her clear water blue eyes wrinkled a bit at the side, while she sipped at her tea. I returned her smile with my own as our same coloured eyes met.

That’s when the trembling started and the bombs started dropping. Without a second thought, she dropped her teacup and dashed to scoop me up in her arms. I can still remember her sweet perfume as she shielded me with her body while our house collapsed. By the time rescuers came around, they had to pry her arms off to free me. I cried all night in the gymnasium cot they had set up for bombing victims. Even though my father was next to me, he didn’t utter a single word of comfort. Shell-shocked they told me, but I didn’t understand what that meant until years later.

The next morning, before I even opened my eyes, I nearly choked from the stink. The air was thick with the smell of pennies. I called out to my father, only to be met with silence. Carefully, I jumped out of my cot to his and screamed with all the lung power a six-year-old could muster. With his throat covered in crimson kisses from ear to ear, his eyes glazed over, forever asking heavenly forgiveness. I cried tears I didn’t know I had left as the workers took me away from him.

When I had settled down they handed me the note he left behind.

My dearest Cora,

You will never know how much I love you and your mother. I never felt good enough to be with your mother. I feel I have failed you as a father and I can’t live with the shame. Neither of you deserved this and I am not strong enough to be there for you. I’m so sorry. You will be better off this way. Be good to your new family. You were always the light of my life. Remember, to keep your eyes open. Life is amazing and I want you to live yours the best way you can. Be brave. Be strong. Show me what you can do. I will be watching you from above.

I love you to the moon and back,

Daddy

None of it made sense. My father was anything but a failure. Not once did my parents ever have a full blown angry argument. Like any couple they squabbled over little things, but nothing that ever caught my attention. I suppose they could have when I was asleep, but our house always felt like a freshly baked cookie, full of warmth and goodness. Either they were amazing actors or this note was a lie.

My childhood was a series of whispers and sympathetic eyes as social workers retold my story to every family who would potentially take me. It wasn’t until I was ten that my foster family came along. Later, I found out I was only there to fulfil a clause in a will. Sure, I could let a series of unfortunate events claim me, or I could take that pain and make it worthwhile. The Resistance was my only option. The day I signed up I never looked back.

Now, I was eighteen and preparing for my first-time travel mission. Justin held the door for me as we entered the cafeteria. A mixed bag of smells wafted as we made our way through the crowd. I handed Justin a plastic mess tray and joined the line. He nudged me in the ribs and pointed upward with his chin. There was Commander Pride trying to sweet talk Chef Mira into another portion of chilli. From the looks of it, he won as she dipped the ladle in for another scoop.

“I told you he’d eat it all,” Justin pointed out.

“Hopefully they’re something left,” I replied.

We made it through the line and spotted the Commander’s arm waving us down to his table. Not to disobey a friendly order we marched over and joined him.

“Pride, you’re a smooth criminal,” Justin commented.

“The food doesn’t have enough calories for a guy like me. When you get this big Justin, we’ll talk,” he replied with a wink.

I nibbled on my roll and couldn’t help but sneak a look at Pride’s biceps, they were bigger than my head.

“Cora, I hear you’re the best cadet we have at the simulation game. When do you go out on your first real mission?” Pride asked without looking up from his tray.

At a loss for words, I nearly choked on my bread.

“In a week from today actually,” Justin answered.

My eyes widened further than I thought possible. This was the first I heard of my mission. Sure, I perfected the simulation game, but to actually go back in time and stop the bombs in the first place was a tall order. I’d do anything to help save our world and make things different. Maybe this time I’d get to keep my parents?

“That’s good news.” Pride said between bites “We need all our cadets to be as good as Cora.”

I blushed at the mention of praise. Pride could either bite your head off or leave you be, but a compliment was beyond my expectations. The din of the crowd reminded me I wasn’t alone. Eating lunch in shifts, this was only a quarter of the Resistance. Last I heard this base alone was at least 10,000 soldiers strong in North East America. Who knows how many would have to be sacrificed until the killing stopped. Death for death was the Resistance motto, and I couldn’t agree more. No one should ever worry about bombs dropping on homes.

“Justin, keep an eye on Cadet Lakes, he’s ready to go,”

“Will do,” Justin replied.

Sopping up the last of his food with his bun Commander Pride picked up his tray, nodded and went on his way.

“You never told me about my mission!” I exploded punching Justin in the arm.

“Hey, you never asked,” he replied rubbing where I had hit him.

I let out a big breath and crossed my arms. Not that the food was that great, but I had lost my appetite.

“Come on, you have to eat, you burn too many calories as it is,” Justin chided.

Glaring at my tray, I made an effort to eat while pouting. A million thoughts ran through my head. What if I messed up. How could I fix things? What if I died?

“You’re going to be amazing. Don’t be so hard on yourself,”

“How…”

“Cora, you’re an open book, your face really does say everything for you,”

“What am I thinking right now, huh?” I asked, pointing my spork at Justin.

“That you better hurry up or you’ll be late for chemistry class,” he replied smoothly.

A glance at my wrist told me he was right. Wolfing down my food I didn’t have a minute to spare. Just as I sat down in my seat the bell rang and class was in session. Letting out a sigh of relief I opened my laptop ready to take notes.

“Who wants to learn how to stop a bomb today?” Professor Xanadu asked cheerfully.

Every hand in attendance went up. The door slid open and Morgan Lakes entered.

“Cadet Lakes, I will not tolerate tardiness. See that it doesn’t happen again,”

“My apologies, sir,”

Morgan Lakes was never late. As he sat down, and Professor Xanadu turned to the whiteboard, and Cadet Yusef whispered something to Morgan that made him blush. I barely made out the word “Jennifer”. Immediately, my stomach tightened. Jennifer Gordon was tall, pale, and willowy like a tree. No doubt her parents had opted for every advance feature as a test tube baby. These days, people didn’t look like her unless they were engineered that way.

Like all bio-made children, she had the GoodBody Corporation logo seared on the base of her neck. It was barely visible unless she had her thick purple hair tied up. When I stood next to her I had to crank my neck to look up. Her eyesight and coordination skills were no mistake. But what was someone like her doing here? Surely, she would be better suited to the Regnet upper circles. How did her parents let her get involved with the Resistance?

It was hard to believe someone who looked like a catwalk model would be a master marksman. After watching her at target practice I all but picked my jaw off the floor while I watched her annihilate every target they threw at her. Clay pigeons, moving targets on a track, random drones flying straight for her, nothing phased her. With precise accuracy, she took them all down within a second of each other. Each shot was perfectly centred and executed. I may be fast and have amazing hand-eye coordination, but I could learn a thing or two from her.

As a kid, Morgan blew up more toys than I could count. He showed me his album of awesome explosions one time while hanging out in his bunk. The glee in his eyes when he talked about crossing wires, and which adhesive he liked best, and his favourite type of detonators was impressive.

I wish I was this passionate about something.

Morgan was made to blast his way in life. Between the two of them, Morgan and Jennifer could take down any enemy; they deserved to be together. If I really believed that, then why was there a war going on in my stomach?

The bell rang and saved me from having to explore any further thought. I didn’t have time to distract myself from my mission since it was coming up so soon. How the heck was I supposed to do this?

****

What do you think?!

 

 

 

 

Editing the first draft…and so it begins

I’ve received feedback from a few beta readers and I feel like I can confidently head back into my manuscript to begin the first round of edits. Since A Raven’s Revenge is my second book, I feel like I have a better grip on what to expect and how I should go about doing this versus the first time when I felt completely overwhelmed.

This time though, things were different, I felt this story didn’t have the overwriting I may have been guilty of in A Raven’s Touch. This time, I cut the story to the bone and really only wrote what was necessary.

In this story, the pacing is pretty much marked by how many times the characters sleep, so I guess that’s two days in hell? What a crazy amount of things that happen in such a short period of time. I suppose that’s how these stories roll.

I did enjoy writing it though and I believe that’s because these characters are such cinnamon buns. I adore Justice, Moira, Tom, and Darien. All of them work together and suffer together. Sigh, poor babies.

 

Character layering and building

One of my pet peeves is a flat character. If the protagonist isn’t interesting, who the heck wants to read about them? I took great strides to make Justice, Moira, Tom, and Darien more than names on a paper, but people you’d want to hang out with and invite into your life. Mind you, you’d literally have to invite Darien, but that’s another story.

In A Raven’s Revenge, I’ve used flashbacks to really suss out moments between characters that show the reader intimate details. For example, Moira’s point of view on her date with Tom really digs into her feelings and what it’s like to be with Tom. Even Seliki’s point of view has readers understanding why she’s so crazy but needs to die anyway.

It’s almost impossible to cram in so many details in the first book and A Raven’s Touch was already 104,000 words. This method has given me a way to backfill and give the reader to details they wouldn’t have known otherwise, but still, information that helps add depth.

Creating a world is a crazy concept, creating people to fill that world even weirder, and having them all interact is difficult, to say the least. One reviewer told me I had too many characters and the story was like a Stephen King novel. That was totally a compliment even though I think that’s something that threw her off. Despite that being something negative to her, it made me beam with pride, yes, this is exactly the kind of story I want.

When I’m writing, I’m writing for me, I’m writing the things that make me happy. The day I stop doing that and change based on someone else’s opinion, well, that will be a sad day indeed. I don’t intend on doing that any time soon.

One thing I can be certain of is my characters will all carry a bit of me in them. Whether that’s for good or bad, I think this is the element that makes them human. I hope people see them that way too.

Oh look, more red pen

A few beta readers have come through and I’ve had some time to think about their comments regarding A Raven’s Revenge.

I sincerely appreciate:
a) the time it takes for someone to read and comment on my work
b) honest betas
c) the overwhelming sense of love my betas have for my characters

I’ve also been reading the story, while on the subway commuting to work, and I’ve been making notes on my Kindle. Reading through it again I found more opportunities to add depth to the characters and places I’ve struggled to show instead of tell. I’m not going to lie, that’s my biggest problem and I know I have to fix it.

Working on a sequel also makes me nervous that I won’t be able to provide the same experience that readers are expecting. I have to hand it to my betas for letting me know they think I’ve done it and that really puts a spring in my step. I even told one of my betas that I’m going to frame her email and look at it whenever I feel bad because her encouragement is so powerful.

There are days where I struggle and wonder why I am a writer (as I am one in my day job as well), but then there’s feedback like this that solidifies my passion and really brings it all home. Yes, I am a real writer. Yes, I am good at this. Yes, I will continue.

This is a part love letter to my betas and part reminder to myself to thank everyone on my journey and that I can indeed do this. ❤