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Friday, May 25, 2012

Wilde's Fire Writing Contest

Have you heard of Sharon yet? She's an amazing author and blogger who devotes valuable time to helping other writers. I highly recommend you add The Blue Word to your list of blogs to stalk. I've gotten to know her through some of my other writer buddies, and the resources she posts about on her blog are fantastic. Not to mention the super exciting fact that she just signed a publishing deal!

And true to character she's spreading the love and opening up her own contest.  It's all based around the release of Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade. I haven't gotten to read it yet, but it sounds amazing.

(Ha Ha! Take that Egyptian internet, I managed to get the picture on here through all your attempts to thwart me!)  :)

For this contest I need to post my query letter and the first 500 words of my novel, AMPED. There will be a few rounds of critiquing with other contestants to get everything in the best shape possible and then they will be judged by Krystal Wade, an editor from Curiosity Quills Press.

This is a great opportunity for me, and I can't wait to read all the other posts! Feel free to leave comments and suggestions about my post. I have three days to make adjustments before submitting.

Here we go....


Seventeen-year-old Avery Lancaster worries she might be crazy.

When an asteroid collides with the sun, a purple solar flare erupts across the sky. Now Avery has visions when she’s touched. She has no idea what these images mean, and she’s not the only one with a new, freaky ability. Teenagers everywhere are becoming Amped.   

The Flare Research Center is formed, and flare victims are brought in for “their own” safety.  They’re not calling it a prison sentence, but Avery has no intention of being used as a science experiment. She and her friends flee into the mountains of Colorado before they can be captured.

Hounded by FRC agents, they find another group of runaways hiding in an abandoned mine. Now Avery is surrounded by kids whose eyes glow purple and orange. They can scale walls, detect metal and cast the room into silence.  

Their Amps help them stay hidden from FRC agents combing the mountains. But hiding isn’t enough. They must learn why the Flare only affected teenagers. When they discover the military rigged the Flare to create an army of Amped soldiers, they form a plan to bring the whole system down.

In order to stop the FRC, Avery must face her greatest fear; embracing her Amp. If she doesn’t learn to harness her power, she may lose more than her sanity. She may lose her life.

AMPED is  a young adult science fiction novel complete at 76,000 words.

First 500 words

I can’t stop imagining how things would be different, if I’d never looked up.

The last mile of my bike ride takes me down a country road lined with verdant pine trees. I take a deep breath, and lean my head back so the breeze lifts the sweat-dampened hair from my shoulders.
It's exhilarating to close my eyes and trust the bike and the dirt beneath me. The bike takes control and I glide like a bird on the updraft. Seven seconds of uncertainty, then I open my eyes. Squinting through wind and sunlight, my house appears through the foliage. Tucked into the pocket of Mt. Lamborn, we live in the pint size town of Paonia,Colorado. The house, like the town is surrounded by trees; huddling, emerald sentries.
            A persistent chirp escapes my backpack as I pedal up the driveway. I swing a leg over the bar, and dig the iPhone from my pocket. The photo on the screen is a woman with wavy chestnut hair in a sun hat, blowing a kiss.
            "Hey mom." My mood brightens as I answer the phone. 
            "I got your text, what did Cameron say?" Her voice is breathless; she must have had to run for the train again. If she misses the last shuttle she’s screwed, I don’t have a car.
            "He’s coming home tonight. His class tomorrow got cancelled."
            "Did he say what time?  Do we have enough food? What does he want for dinner?" Her questions spill out like a bag of rice ripped at the seams.
              A shriek from the woods steals my focus, and my eyes are drawn to the enormous oak tree near our front porch.
             "Avery, are you there?” she asks.        
              A hawk soars out of the tree into the air. Russet wings shimmer inthe sky. My eyes follow its' flight, breathless, as I watch the hawk swoop and glide towards the sun.
            Just as I turn my head and look up, the sun explodes. Purple streaks of light rush at me like a tidal wave of electrical current. The handle of the bike slips from my grasp, and my eyes sear with pain. Electricity surges to my fingertips and the light burns into my brain with such intensity, I'm sure I'm dying, already dead, burning, crying, there is nothing but the pain, no pain like this before, pain until the end of time. No cohesive thoughts, a muddle of color and fire swirl in my mind.
My thoughts are sucked down a drainpipe as the purple light recedes, followed by an orange afterglow striking my befuddled senses like a bell, ringing, resonating and I'm sliding, sinking, drowning. Everything is black and I’m gone.

Hope you enjoy this bite size morsel of AMPED and it leaves you wanting more!  :)


  1. WOW :) LOVE LOVE LOVE what you did to the first 500 words. I was sucked in completely and it makes me want to re-read your MS. And I also LOVE your query letter, hence all the requests :) xx

  2. Yes! This does leave me wanting more! Excellent opening scene! I've read this before...can't think of where - another contest perhaps? My favorite lines: "emerald sentries," "her questions spill out like a bag of rice ripped at the seams," and "a muddle of color and fire swirl in my mind" - all very well written. I think this is a fabulous premise. I'd be all about this book. I want to read it! I just joined your blog too - nice bumping into you again. ;)

  3. I know I already gave you a mouthful during my pre-critique, so I don't have much to say. :) This is looking really good. I love that you dive right in.

    1. thanks again for giving it a sneak peek, your suggestions were really good! :)

  4. Really interesting start. I'm hooked.

    In the query, the fourth and fifth paragraphs start with essentially the same information--that they're being chased by FRC agents. I think you only need to say that once.

    The opening of the first 500 is slightly confusing. The first line is after the event, but then we go straight back into the event. I'm leary of starting with a flashback anyway and especially in present tense I think it can be tricky.

  5. Wow, you're in Egypt! I would love to go to Egypt! My dream land! hehe

    I like this. Very interesting and different. Intriguing!
    Good luck!

  6. This is very intriguing and well done! My only quibble is that I would cut the first line of the excerpt. I agree with a previous commenter that it is confusing.

    Other than that, well done and good luck!

  7. Very interesting. Reminds me of the TV show Heroes a little bit. I agree with the others who suggested deleting the first line of the excerpt. Good luck!

  8. I like the story line and yes Nicole it is a little Heroes like.
    I picked up a few minor typos, so I thought I would let you know about them, sorry for being picky! I wish you the best of luck.

    Hounded by FRC agent, / should be agents,
    lean my head backso / back so
    Russet wings shimmer inthe sky / in the
    crying,there / crying there

    pain until the end of time - I think is a little overkill, as she survives

    1. thanks for pointing these out, unfortunately my copy and paste had some formatting issues and put a lot of words together, thanks for pointing out the ones I missed! :)

  9. Thanks everyone, these are really helpful! Can't wait to read everyone else's!

  10. Your query and 1st 500 wds are great! Opening sentences on both lead the reader right in. Premise is oridginal. I like how the story begins in the appropriate spot. And the writing's smooth. Ms. Wade has her work cut out for her. Good luck :)

  11. I WANT TO READ THIS BOOK! Like, yesterday!

    The query had me at the first line. I like that we don't realize *why* she thinks she's crazy. It does exactly what it should - makes me keep reading. When I continued reading, I found my eyes widening and my eyebrows lifting with both curiosity and surprise. I REALLY want to read this book!!!!

    Good luck in the contest!

  12. What a neat concept! Your query is really good and the writing in first 500 is lovely. Want to hear something funny? I'm an FRC agent. LOL. Seriously. I work for an airline and one of my job functions is an FRC agent which stands for Flight Recovery Center... where I reprotect passengers on delayed and canceled flights. LOL! So I got a big kick out of this.
    Anyway, nice to meet you and best of luck! :)

    1. That is hilarious, do you have an official FRC badge? I'd love a picture! :) Sorry but you're officially a villain in my story. What in interesting coincidence.

  13. Wowzers! This is AWESOME! I love it, love it, love! Your writing is beautiful! Good luck!

  14. This sounds like such a neat premise - like a modern X-men! I really liked your query overall, but have a few suggestions to hopefully make it even better :) The last paragraphs could use a few tweaks, imo (my comments in all caps):

    Their Amps help them stay hidden from FRC agents combing the mountains. But hiding isn’t enough. They must learn why the Flare only affected teenagers. WHY? WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THEY DON'T LEARN THIS? When they discover the government is involved, they form a plan to bring the whole system down. <-TOO VAGUE. HOW IS THE GOVT INVOLVED? AND HOW COULD THEY POSSIBLY BRING IT DOWN?

    In order to stop the FRC, Avery must face her greatest fear; embracing her Amp.<-WHAT EXACTLY IS HER AMP (JUST VISIONS? OR ARE THEY VISIONS OF THE FUTURE?) AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO EMBRACE IT (WHY IS SHE AFRAID TO DO SO? ARE THERE CONSEQUENCES OF USING IT/NOT USING IT) If she doesn’t learn to harness her power, she may lose more than her sanity.<-WHY WOULD HER SANITY BE AT RISK? She may lose her life. <-TOO VAGUE. WOULD HER AMP KILL HER IF SHE DOESN'T EMBRACE IT? OR WOULD THE GOVT?

  15. Sounds exciting and you have done a great job putting it down on paper, er, computer screen:) When you get it published (grin) I will be reading it for sure! Good luck tomorrow!

  16. Wow, I can't believe how many great entries there are to this contest! Yours is one too! Good luck and how funny that PK can relate so well to your story:)

  17. Oooh, very nice! I really enjoyed the first 500 words, and now have an urge to go bike riding again!

    The only comment I have is on the query. This paragraph is really vague, and pulled me out of the flow of the story you were introducing. Just give us a detail or two more (why do THEY have to learn, how do they discover the government's involvement, what sort of plan?).

    "Their Amps help them stay hidden from FRC agents combing the mountains. But hiding isn’t enough. They must learn why the Flare only affected teenagers. When they discover the government is involved, they form a plan to bring the whole system down."