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Hiya.

I write stories for middle school souls, who deserve better than a culture of hopelessness and indulgence. Browse the blog, Sheepgate, where I give that culture a piece of my mind. TTFN, Emily

Favorite Excerpt of the Week

This week, I am still trudging along through revisions. Husband Hill offered to start editing the pages I have already gone through (that would be over 200 pages!), so at least he's the sweetest thang since Christian Bale in "Newsies" (le sigh).

In other news, I have a hot new excerpt for you! I say "hot" because it is one of those love triangle encounters we all love/hate so much. I hate that a love triangle happened in my story, but I guess I also don't because ... well, you'll see.

In this scene, Tess has just arrived at the Ruins to rescue Chris from the Atheonian soldier (who turns out to be Tynaiv, Tess's other love interest). Tess has met Tynaiv once before, when he charmed a very important national secret out of her. Wishing to question Tynaiv as to the whereabouts of her family without revealing her identity, Tess decides to masquerade as the guardian of the Ruins. The result is, well, sub-optimal:

 

Tess lost no time. She briskly walked a few yards north, so as to look like she was coming from that direction. Then she closed her cloak over her nightgown and stood erect.

“Stay there, newcomer.”

She tried to speak smoothly and calmly, although her heart had still not quite made it back to her chest since she heard Tynaiv speaking in the cell. She hoped against hope that Tynaiv would not recognize her with the hood covering her face.

Tynaiv swiveled about on his heels. His eyes searched up and down Tess’s body. A corner of his mouth lifted, “You have caught me unarmed, my lady. I hope you mean me no harm?”

Tess could not tell whether or not he recognized her, but she decided to continue the charade.

“I don’t know yet. Are you friend or foe?”

“Friend. Of course.”

“Prove yourself.” Tess pointed dramatically at Tynaiv.

“I must prove myself to you? That seems unreasonable. How should I know what would satisfy you?”

Tess’s pulse raced. She had relied on a good memory at Redfoot Academy, and she hoped it would help her again now.

“Peace is found in faithful trust

                        of fellow creature

                        of fellow man.

If trust be earned by thee (or me),

                        the sacred friendship must very near be.

Show me the gift, which your fellow received

                        whene'er the fellowship was conceived.”

            Tess found that she sort of sang the little riddle, to help her remember what would come next. The verses seemed to have a powerful effect on Tynaiv, whose mouth was agape. A moment of clearing his throat, and Tynaiv had regained his senses.

            “Oh yes, the gift. Well, you may lay your worries aside, my lady. I have indeed made such a fellowship. I’ve made many, in fact. But I cannot show you my gifts, for I am far from my home.”

            “Show me the gift,” Tess asserted, taking a bold step forward, “Or you shall perish at my hand.”

            “My lady,” Tynaiv bowed humbly. “I dare not defy you. It was my intention to pass peacefully through here. I only wanted a safe place to take a meal and my rest before moving along through the forest. I meant no trespass.”

            “You are not welcome here.”

            “This is your territory, then?”

            There was a note in Tynaiv’s voice that Tess did not like. It rang with a pitch of suspicion. She could not very well drop her disguise now.

            “I am Osiris,” she said grandly, “Defender of Glademont and protector of these Ruins.”

            “I see,” Tynaiv grinned playfully. “A quick question for you, Osiris. Do you happen to turn into a great grey bear at night?” Tynaiv advanced slowly toward Tess, and the muscles in his arms twitched.

            “You … you may have seen me in that form.” Tess dared not retreat, but she heard her voice trembling.

            “I believe I have seen you in that form. A friend and I swam for miles upstream just to avoid you.” Tynaiv was still strolling closer to Tess.

            Tess stole a glance at the shrub to her left, but Osiris was no longer there. She could not help but breathe a little quickly. Tynaiv came forward another yard then crouched where he was.

            “Muddy riding boots are an odd choice for an ancient bear-woman-guardian, don’t you think?” His playful grin had only brightened. “I have a feeling that I won’t be perishing today.”

            Half embarrassed, half frightened, Tess revealed her face from beneath the hood.

            “Hello,” was all Tynaiv said. He rested his hands upon his blue sash, looking very pleased with himself.

            “Hello,” came Tess’s meek reply.

Thinking Ahead: Beta Readers and Beyond

Seeing the Story in Acts, not Chapters