Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Query Blog Hop: THE MIRRORMASTERS

(A huge thank you to Michelle Hauck for organizing this lovely blog hop and to the wonderful critiquers who so generously offer their feedback! You have all been so tremendously helpful, and I love the feedback you've given. Hopefully this incorporates most of it and adds a bit of clarity. )

REVISED QUERY:


Dear Amazing Agent,


Leah Ellis never knew why she was found abandoned on the beach at two years old. Content with her adoptive family and small town life, she hadn't thought much about it over the years. That is, until her life takes a bizarre turn when she begins seeing images in mirrors she can’t explain--cloaked figures using powers that manifest like lightning bolts, or flash-frozen beaches on another world beneath a purple sky. 

She practices mirror-gazing, driven to understand these images and their possible connection to her forgotten past, and discovers that it’s kind of addictive with its wild, boundless power coursing through her veins. Soon, she learns to control what the mirror shows her.


When new neighbors move in, Leah is shocked that they're dead ringers for the people in her visions. According to Brian, with the gorgeous ice-blue eyes, and his father, she is a MirrorMaster--an alien with a gift that lets her travel through mirrors, even to worlds light years away. Her birth parents sent them to take her from Earth back to her homeworld of Jantyr, a planet she doesn’t remember. They’ve searched for her ever since she disappeared.  


But Leah’s long-lost birth sister, a sorceress, activated an ancient device to trigger a cataclysm on Jantyr as a bid to consolidate her own power. Leah must return to Jantyr, master her newfound ability in order to locate and wield crystals that will disable the device, and thwart her sister’s plans. Otherwise, the destruction will consume the entire galaxy, including Earth and everyone she loves.

THE MIRRORMASTERS is a 98,000-word science fiction/fantasy for young adults. I have earned a graduate degree in Psychology from Widener University and work at a local residential facility serving autistic children and teens. My short story, "Unfinished," was published online on author Samantha Mabry's website, Flash Paranormal Fiction. My short science fiction/apocalyptic story, “Defying the Darkness,” is published through Novelty Fiction. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Warmest Regards,


Lora Palmer



-----------------------------------------

PREVIOUS VERSION:

Dear Amazing Agent,


Leah Ellis never knew her origins, or why she was found on the beach
at two years old, all alone. Now fifteen, she has always focused on
her life with her adoptive family and best friends in their small town
of SeaCliff Heights. The past hasn’t mattered. That is, until she
begins seeing images in mirrors she can’t explain--cloaked figures
using powers that manifest like lightning bolts, or flash-frozen
beaches on another world beneath a purple sky. As she practices
mirror-gazing, she finds out that it’s kind of addictive with its
wild, boundless power coursing through her veins. Soon, she learns to
control what the mirror shows her.


When new neighbors move in, Leah is shocked that they're dead ringers
for the people in her visions. Brian, with the gorgeous ice-blue eyes,
and his father, were sent by her birth parents to take her from Earth
back to Jantyr, a planet she doesn’t remember. They’ve searched for
her ever since she disappeared. According to them, she is a
MirrorMaster, an alien with a gift that lets her travel through
mirrors, even to worlds light years away. Because of this rare
ability, Jantyr needs her help to locate and wield crystals that will
stop an impending cataclysm, a cataclysm triggered by a device on her
homeworld. Otherwise, the destruction will consume the entire galaxy,
including Earth and everyone she loves.


THE MIRRORMASTERS is a 98,000-word science fiction/fantasy for young
adults.Thank you so much for your time and
consideration.

Warmest Regards,


Lora Palmer

Friday, November 7, 2014

Release Day : Arcadia (The Wonderlust Chronicles #1) by Hope Christine






Ever since Sky Captain Lemise Holdif was a boy, he’s been faced with the End of Days. For decades an unknown enemy has been systematically wiping out life in the galaxy, starting with the most advanced societies. Now Arcadia, a world built from the trash of an entire galaxy, is the only planet left capable of distant space travel, and the next target. Lemise is desperate to save his home world, but his plans are interrupted when an alien visitor transports onto his ship.
Lead Specialist Paelae Madison is the last of her kind. The only survivor of the First Attack, and bent on revenge for the destruction of her people. In desperation, she teleports onto an Arcadian ship and offers aid in the coming war. Arcadia sees her as a hero, but Lemise is weary to trust a stranger who’s survived over five hundred previous battles.
Together the two fight to defeat an enemy far more advanced, and far more cunning than Arcadia has ever known. But extinction lurks around every corner, and The Enemy isn’t the only one threatening to destroy the world.





Buy Links:






Take a Peek at Arcadian Culture:



Arcadia is a junkyard planet but it collects more than just broken ships. Before it was a recognized planet, it had been a place of refuge for lost voyagers. Eventually it began to collect people like it collected trashed technology. Some were refugees, others were stranded after running out of money for their journey, and some were simply shunned from their own worlds.



With so many different people there’s a lot of borrowed pieces of culture that has been meshed together to form the Arcadian way of life. For example: they love to refurbish or repurpose technology but it is the highest crime of their court systems to help create or aide in the creation of cyborgs: part human, part technology. Don’t improve what man did not make.



The law developed from their belief that a soul cannot find the World Beyond unless the body is whole. It makes navigating the Field of Stars, a type of purgatory, difficult because a partial soul would have to wait for a whole soul to help guide them. This belief was stolen from the Monks on the planet Maldeen who had a very different lifestyle, rarely traveling into space.



Paelae is the outsider on Arcadia, she comes from a more crisp and clean way of traveling space. It’s like taking Captain Picard and putting him on the Serenity. She has a hard time adjusting to their way of life but as you read it from her perspective you begin to pick up on where all those bits and pieces of Arcadian society came from.



Lemise, who is born on Arcadia and has had little contact with other races (since most just fire at them for scavenging the graves of the dead) sees Paelae’s past life on the Imladian ships as very excessive and wasteful. In this way, as well as others, they tend to clash.




As the story progresses you can really see how Paelae’s and Lemise’s culture begin to shape who they become from a young age. 



Read an Excerpt:



Officers stumbled over each other in preparation for the day ahead. As soon as the first rays of purple sunshine peaked over the city, a line had started to form for the bathrooms, and Paelae was thrust back into the world of the living with a jolt. Sweat covered her face, and her breathing was too rapid.

Despite the cramped space, the other women gave her a reasonable berth, some eying her while checking their weapons.

Had she screamed in her sleep? The nights had grown increasingly rare when she didn’t have a nightmare.

“Hey.” Paelae sat up and tugged the clothes out of her trunk. She ran a hand over the purple and black jumpsuit provided for her; it felt wrong, wearing the colors of another people. It was the first time anyone offered her a uniform. She preferred the Imladian one; it was familiar.

“Hey.” This time she looked up, noticing that the one-word sentence had been directed to her.

A woman stood at the end of her bed, arms crossed and legs apart as if at ease. “Name’s Benni. I’m your guard.”

Of course, the woman from the ship. 

Benni was a head shorter than Paelae and bore the markings of a low rank.

“I’m Paelae,” she said and stood to greet Benni with a hard stare. “I’m your…” She searched for an appropriate word.

“Ally,” Benni finished for her. “Sky cap’s waiting outside for you.”

Paelae took the cue and began her attempt to navigate out of the barracks, jumping over beds and weaving around people until she reached the metal door. Outside, the world was tainted purple as the sun filtered through Arcadia’s atmospheric shielding, a product of too many chemical bombs. What had once been a rushed patch job to keep air on the planet had since evolved into a last line of defense worthy of acknowledgment. It was one of few things Arcadians boasted about among the planets—when the planets still existed.

Captain Lemise stood just outside the barrack doors, looking across the miles of asphalt designated for intergalactic travel. Bordering the west side of the airfield and encroaching fast upon the north, were piles of rejected technology and broken spaceships tossed out by hundreds of different races. 

That’s how Arcadia had started, as a junkyard, but then lost voyagers found a home on it, attracting others—from those shunned by their own people to travelers broken down with no funds to continue on their journey. Eventually, it became a home for those who had nowhere else to go, and scavenging became more than an act of survival; it became a trade.

Most of the north and east were surrounded by low-class, brick apartment buildings, meant for the soldiers and their families.

“You’re not in uniform.” Lemise deduced upon seeing her. “If you want on my Chasers, you wear my uniform.”

Paelae shrugged. “Bathroom line was too long to change.”

Lemise began to walk away. “Then wake up earlier.”

Paelae walked close behind with Benni in tow as the sky captain began to explain. “Miss Demitri is our chief innovation and engineering specialist; with a screwdriver and a handful of computer chips, she could change a toaster into an engine. You will work beside her under close supervision. I want a particle shield by the end of the week.”

She almost laughed. Particle shields were difficult with the right materials, but with makeshift metals and roundabout wiring, he would be lucky if it turned on in three weeks.

“In exchange, you will work beside me in the evenings,” he continued.

Lemise didn’t expand any further on her evening expectations, but Paelae suspected they would be dull at best until Lemise began to trust her better.

“Unless there are complications. Then I will jettison you out of an airlock in EWAN territory. Am I understood?”

“Yes, sir,” she said. Centuries of military training had drilled the habit into her.

He led them to a jeep, and another soldier drove them east to a warehouse that stood ten stories tall. Behind it, a mesh, wire gate separated civilian from soldiers. Paelae watched as a group of young boys tossed a ball back and forth to each other, running down a deserted street to throw it in a trash can.

They used to play a similar game on the cityship as trainees. It was one of the few bits and pieces they had smuggled from the Earthen culture, played in secret when the officers had left.

Once, General Amir had caught them midgame when he came to get Paelae for sparring lessons. Anything Earthen was not to be spoken of or remembered in any way, but she had been rebellious as all teenagers were those days. Everyone had frozen in place. The terror coursing through their bodies made them forget to even salute. Trying to run would have been devastating.

Amir had walked between them, assessing the trainees. He had been furious, but his anger hadn’t been displayed in shouting or beating; it had filled the silence that spread between moments in time.

“Madison,” he addressed with a calm, collected demeanor, turning to look at her. “Why do we not register Earth as a planet in our systems?”

She didn’t reply.

“Madison!” This time the words were forceful, bringing her back from the past. Lemise and Benni had already departed from the vehicle and waited for her.

With a sigh, she shook the memory away, letting it dissipate into the morning air and jumped out of the jeep.

Lemise led them through an open garage door. Inside, the warehouse resembled a miniature junkyard. As Paelae looked closer, she could tell that the piles had been organized to some degree. One had wire, another had chips, and a third was weaponry.

“Demitri!” Lemise called. A clatter of metal followed, and the sky captain took that as a cue. They wove in and out of large piles and then climbed over smaller ones until the ground could be seen again. A giant square of cleared floor sat under an open roof, and near the opposite end, a young woman drew up schematics on a metalwork table.

“Demitri,” Lemise called again as they walked up to her.

Demitri glanced up through layers of grease stains and smudges of dirt. Bright red hair fell in a tangled mess past her shoulders, held back by a set of goggles. Deep, blue crescents were visible beneath her eyes, as if the woman had been bruised. 

“Did you sleep here last night?” He didn’t address her as a soldier, nor did she wear a uniform. Instead, brown overalls adorned her skeletal frame, and a belt of odd tools kept it hanging up.

Demitri gave him a confused look. “No. I’ve only just arrived.”

“You were supposed to be in an hour ago,” Lemise said as the military eased back into his speech.

“I was delayed,” she said and threw her arms open. “It’s not like I don’t stay past midnight anyway. Every genius needs sleep. Is this the Imladian?”

Lemise pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. “This is Madison.”

Demitri stepped around the table and snatched Paelae’s arm up, pushing back the black leather sleeve. After a moment, Demitri let out a whistle. “That’s a particle shield all right. I’ll need the big guns for those supplies.”

“One week,” Lemise said.

Demitri laughed before realizing he was serious. “Two weeks, sleep, free meals, and you throw in that glass plating I need to fix the Mirage.”

“One week, no sleep, free breakfast, and you fix the Mirage because it’s your job, not a bargaining chip.”

“Two weeks, no sleep, and lunches.”

“A week and a half, sleep, and no food.”

Demitri was about to throw in another bargain when a little girl ran out from behind a pile of piping. She held up a colored picture with evident pride, tugging on Demitri’s pants and grunting to get her attention.

“A week and a half, no sleep, and forget this happened,” Demitri said as she placed a hand on her daughter’s head. “The daycare was filled, and Pops is working cross-continent. I wouldn’t bring her unless it was my only option, I swear.”

Lemise knelt down to the girl’s level. “Hello, Demi.” He smiled.

Demi held up her picture of colorful stick figures, grunting as she pointed in stunted movements at each one.

“I see.” Lemise took her picture and gave it a further inspection. “It is a beautiful picture. Will you draw me one?”

Paelae watched in mild horror. Demi was broken. On the cityship, they considered it a mercy to chloroform such children at birth, if they made it that far without detection; and it shocked her that all those years she never thought twice about it. Never before had she encountered one on other planets, though she’d heard stories.

Lemise stood, turning back to Demitri. “Will she be okay around new faces?”

“Yeah, she’s better with it now.” Demitri cracked her knuckles in anticipation.

“A week and a half, no sleep, and lunches,” he offered.

“Deal.”

They shook on it.

“I’ll leave you to it then,” Lemise said and left, disappearing behind piles of trash.

Demitri pulled a chair up for her daughter to continue drawing, and then lounged back in one of her own.

“You named her after yourself,” Paelae stated when the silence had extended beyond comfort.

“Of course I did. She’s a Devonian.” Demitri fiddled with the lenses on her goggles.

Paelae nodded, though she didn’t know what that meant. “Should we get started, then?”

Demitri tossed her a pencil. “Copy your arm, please.”

She looked at the writing instrument with amusement. Once, this had been the only way to transcribe thoughts, but it had been centuries since she used one. “I don’t know how to use this.”

That caught Demitri’s attention. “You don’t know how to use a pencil?”

“Not anymore, no.”

Demitri laughed. “Aliens, sometimes you get too advanced for your own good. Come here. I’ll do it.” Another pencil was pulled from the depths of her ponytail. “Please tell me you can at least use a welder.”




About the Author:

Hope Christine was born in Arizona and raised in Colorado. Her youth was spent in Narnia and her teenage years in Middle-Earth. Like most, she grew up with reluctance and then attended college for multiple degrees before settling on Linguistics.

Today she studies Middle-Eastern languages and works in retail.

She’s opinionated, blunt, loves to bike, and bares an extreme hate of peaches.


















Sunday, September 21, 2014

KNIGHT OF LIGHT Review and WSGS #3



This week turned out to be productive, despite a really slow start with writing. That was because through most of the week, I focused on querying MIRRORMASTERS and sent out 7 queries. So, I didn't actually get any writing done on BENEATH THE RED SKY until this weekend, but between yesterday and today, I wrote over 1,400 words. Just having that goal in writing and knowing that I'd have to report on my progress here helped me push through to get it done. To me, that's a success because I reached my total word count goal for the week :). I also finished reading KNIGHT OF LIGHT several days ago and completed today the other goal I'd wanted to accomplish--writing my review. Here it is, posted here from Goodreads:


Knight of Light (The Watchers, #1)Knight of Light by Deirdra Eden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm so excited to have been contacted to host a book tour for KNIGHT OF LIGHT on my blog. This is a charming fantasy about a girl named Auriella, who discovers that she has a unique ability and a destiny to fight as a knight of light against evil shadow lords. I loved reading Auriella's journey as she goes from being an orphan servant girl who doesn't believe she's brave but risks her life to save two little kids from a fire, to a feisty, resourceful heroine who will do whatever it takes to escape those who would threaten her and her friends, to a talented and confident young knight in training.

From the gripping opening pages to its thrilling conclusion, this book hooked me and didn't let go. I highly recommend it to fans of fantasy from middle grade readers on.


View all my reviews




How did I do with my third goal, refraining from compulsively checking my inbox for query replies? Um. Yeah. That was more of a challenge, I have to say. Maybe I'll just accept that I'm going to be checking for emails when I get the chance and drop the idea of making a goal about decreasing that behavior.

Looking ahead to next week, here are my goals:

1. Again, I want to write 200 words a day on RED SKY. I made it through the dinner scene basically, so next up, Kassi and Noah have to share with Jacqueline the troubling conversation she overheard between the shady Colonel James and someone else, a conversation related to more disasters about to befall Mars Colony 1. Then, there's Kassi's next excavation class, which could spell disaster for her new dreams, the only dreams she has left to cling to after having to give up becoming a ballerina to move to Mars with her family.

2. This week, I want to read fellow AQC'er Vicki L. Weavil's new release, CROWN OF ICE, a retelling of the Snow Queen fairytale. I'll post my review here and on Goodreads.

How did you do with your writing goals last week, and what do you want to accomplish this week?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Writing Success Goal Sunday #2

Picture Courtesy of pippalou at MorgueFile

Setting writing goals and keeping track of progress can be a great way to achieve success. They'll also serve as a reminder to enjoy and celebrate the smaller, short-term accomplishments along the journey. Each week, I'll post my writing goals and invite you all to post yours and update us on your progress. I've seen something like this on another blog where it's a summer feature, and it seems like a great way to encourage each other as a regular feature here.

This week, here are my writing goals;

1. Finish reading KNIGHT OF LIGHT and write my review. I'll post it here and on Goodreads.

2. Write at least 200 words a day on my WIP, BENEATH THE RED SKY. Next up, my mc Kassi will be having dinner with her parents, her new friends Jacqueline and Noah, and she just may find out why the heck those two had a huge falling out in their past. After that, Kassi's first excavation training turns out to be much more of a challenge than she hoped, and she'll discover she's got obstacles to overcome if she's going to secure a spot for herself on the team.

3. Fight the urge to obsessively check my inbox! It's so hard to distract myself when I'm querying (I'd forgotten how difficult the wait can be), but hopefully if I can focus on writing, it'll help :). 


That's it for me. Next week I'll let you all know how it went! What are your writing goals for the week? 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light Release Post

I'm excited to read the book whose release I'm celebrating again today, for anyone who's missed it! I'll be reading it soon, so in the next week or so,  look for my book review.  When it's ready, I'll post it here and at Goodreads.


The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light



 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

Watch the amazing Knight of Light book trailer on youtube.


About the Author


"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."
-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online at AmazonDeirdra's website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.



Monday, September 1, 2014

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light Book Trailer and Giveaway!

Today I'm excited to celebrate the release of KNIGHT OF LIGHT by Dierdra Eden. Check out the trailer, and don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway :)



The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light





 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.


The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions




About the Author


"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."
-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Writing Success Goal Monday #1

Picture Courtesy of Pippalou on Morguefile

Setting writing goals and keeping track of progress can be a great way to achieve success. They'll also serve as a reminder to enjoy and celebrate the smaller, short-term accomplishments along the journey. Each week, I'll post my writing goals and invite you all to post yours and update us on your progress. I've seen something like this on another blog where it's a summer feature, and it seems like a great way to encourage each other as a regular feature here.

This week, here are my writing goals;

1. Finish working on the query for RED SKY to get it ready for WriteOnCon 2014 (August 26-27). There's not too much left to do with this one, but I do want to incorporate a hint of romance to show that it is a YA rather than MG fic.

2. Finish edits for MIRRORMASTERS for possible entry into Pitch Wars and for WriteOnCon. This goal is going to take longer, because I'm anticipating at least cutting two characters and focusing a bit more on the main character Leah's story arc--the things she learns and how she grows during the course of the story.

3. Write at least 200 words a day on RED SKY. Maybe it's not such an ambitious goal, but it's an achievable goal with the time I have.

So, that's it for this week! What are your writing goals for the week? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday: Which Bookverse?

This week's topic: What book universe do you wish you could live in?


Wow, so many ideas popped into my mind as exciting choices.

At the top of my list was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with its enchanted castle and all the magic capable of doing just about anything. Still, as I thought about it, it's probably a world I'd much rather experience through a book (and movies) than actually live in on a daily basis.




Another bookverse I've gotten into lately is the Lunar Chronicles, a sci-fi fairy tale series. So far, I've read CINDER and SCARLET. Again, with a world under the threat of war, I'm not sure I'd want to actually experience that one, either--though I highly recommend checking out the books!


I've also been enjoying Tamora Pierce's series based in the fantasy world of Tortall--the Protector of the Small series about a feisty girl who becomes a Lady Knight, and the Beka Cooper series about a girl who becomes a police officer and her adventures pursuing criminals along with her mentors/partners.

The ACROSS THE UNIVERSE series will always have a place in my heart, and I love, love, love the idea of a voyage to a new planet in another solar system. If that voyage didn't have a power-hungry dictator, a psychopath murdering the frozens, phydus, and pterodactyls, I'd be more excited to actually go on that journey to Centauri-Earth.

Honestly? With all the sci-fi and fantasy I read, it's much more fun to read about adventures and danger. Actually having to go through it? Probably not so much. I think I'm torn between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, just to experience that world, or living in the world of the DIVERGENT series as an Amity.

What bookverse would you choose?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Spam Attack!

Yes, my blog has been infected by the dreaded spam attack. You might know the signs--those random comments that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic of your post, are filled with misspellings, and contain links to sites that have nothing to do with the subject of your blog and can sometimes be...let's just say not very family-friendly. Which I do not want on my family-friendly site.

Oh, and many of these comments have either glowing praise, even though it's obviously from a spam bot who hasn't actually read the posts,  or "criticisms" that may be designed to hurt the ranking of your site.  And by that I mean outright lies about issues your blog doesn't actually have--like formatting or load times. I think the spammers are even trying to hurt my blog's reputation by posting backlinks to my site as spam comments, that appear to be from me but actually aren't (hear that, Google and any awesome readers who happen to stumble on this site as a result? It's not me.), on other blogs. Yikes! 

Blogger luckily has a really good spam filter, so it's easy to just go into my spam comments and click delete without their ever being published. Still, the spam attack Just. Won't. Quit. Every single day--and this has been going on for weeks now--the spam comments keep on coming. You, my lovely readers, fortunately won't have to see them. I can't worry about the backlinks left to my site, but I can keep this site clean for you all.

I have now had to adjust my post settings so that I have to approve comments before they post. It is a major, major shame that I've needed to take this step, but I promise I will be checking the pending comments, so you shouldn't notice too much delay before your comment posts. 

The worst part, though? You might notice that tons of your comments have disappeared from my posts, comments I treasure and am heartbroken to lose. One accidental click of the delete button when I was looking at ALL post comments and thought I was looking at just the SPAM ones, did that.

EVIL spammers.

Anyway, how have you all dealt with spam attacks? Hopefully most of you have been lucky enough never to have experienced it. But if you have been, know that you have my deepest empathy and support.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Writer's Voice Entry: THE MIRRORMASTERS

(A huge thank you to Brenda Drake and Krista Van Dolzer  and their lovely co-hosts of The Writer's Voice, as well as to all the participating agents! Best of luck to each and every contestant--the competition is fierce this year!)

Query:

Leah Ellis never knew her origins, or why she was found on the beach
at two years old, all alone. Now fifteen, she has always focused on
her life with her adoptive family and best friends in their small town
of SeaCliff Heights. The past hasn’t mattered. That is, until she
begins seeing images in mirrors she can’t explain--cloaked figures
using powers that manifest like lightning bolts, or flash-frozen
beaches on another world beneath a purple sky. As she practices
mirror-gazing, she finds out that it’s kind of addictive with its
wild, boundless power coursing through her veins. Soon, she learns to
control what the mirror shows her.

When new neighbors move in, Leah is shocked that they're dead ringers
for the people in her visions. Brian, with the gorgeous ice-blue eyes,
and his father, were sent by her birth parents to take her from Earth
back to Jantyr, a planet she doesn’t remember. They’ve searched for
her ever since she disappeared. According to them, she is a
MirrorMaster, an alien with a gift that lets her travel through
mirrors, even to worlds light years away. Because of this rare
ability, Jantyr needs her help to locate and wield crystals that will
stop an impending cataclysm, a cataclysm triggered by a device on her
homeworld. Otherwise, the destruction will consume the entire galaxy,
including Earth and everyone she loves.

THE MIRRORMASTERS is a 99,000-word work of speculative fiction for young
adults. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Warmest Regards,
Lora Palmer



First 250:


My eyes flashed open at the sound of a woman's scream. I stretched my legs. I’d been curled up on the couch so long my knees ached while watching some cheesy old horror movie.  Whenever I tried to focus, anxiety, persistent and unrelenting as a storm tide, fragmented my thoughts and made my palms sweat. Every year on this date, something strange happened, like mysterious pulses of light in the forest and not-quite-solid figures that appeared in the cemetery one second and disappeared the next. 

I couldn’t shake the awful intuition that this year would bring something much worse than the usual weirdness.

Chilling music, followed by sounds of strangled sobs and hitching breaths, sent a shiver down my spine. On the television screen, the killer claimed his next victim. Flinching, I put a hand over my eyes too late to avoid the sight. I wrinkled my nose and turned to my brother David and best friend Kara, who were sitting on the love seat engrossed in the film. The screen faded to black. As the end credits rolled, I grabbed the remote and changed the channel.

“Let’s watch something light when the others get here,” I said.

“Leah, Leah, Leah.” David shook his head and laughed. “Don’t tell me you want to watch some lame comedy when we can have a classic slasher fest. Besides, it’s tradition.”          

“Oh, come on!” I shot him a pleading look. “I’m sure your finals were easy, but I took three AP exams this week—I think I deserve a break.”