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sttarzz99
01-14-2014, 12:01 AM
I've had a few great beta reading experiences. But would like one or two more before I start what I hope to be my final revision. I'll gladly swap for: YA/NA any genre, but prefer supernatural/fantasy/paranormal/dystopian, completed drafts that have been edited for grammar, word count 100,000 or less.

My beta style is to be honest and provide in the moment/in text reactions and feedback. I prefer beta partners with thick skin open to constructive criticism. I do not have time to stroke egos, or continually apologize or sugar coat my reviews. But I will always point out what I think is working, along with any areas I feel may need attention.

I'm on my fifth revision. I've worked extensively on plot, conflict, characterization, dialogue and grammar. I have very thick skin. I want to know what is working, but I'm primarily interested in problem areas.

What I'm looking for is the overall big picture. Is the basic premises interesting, does the inciting incident hook you, do you feel immediate sympathy/empathy for main characters, are they likable, why or why not, does the storyline hold your interest, do the plot reversals surprise you, is anything super predictable, confusing or over-explained, is there enough internal conflict (do you "feel" with my characters), is the pacing of the external conflict enough to keep your interest, does the story arc build to a great climax, are you surprised by the climax, does the resolution adequately revolve all conflict leaving you satisfied?? And is there anything else you feel is noteworthy??

Here is a very rough query:

Angels do not exist. Or maybe they do somewhere in Heaven - if you believe that sort of thing - but they do not go walking around middle-of-nowhere-towns like Bellefonte, PA.

At least, that’s what 16-year-old Roxy Lockhart thought before witnessing a negligent, heartless driver hit a dog and leave it for dead. Roxy rushes to aid the injured animal never considering her good intentions would lead her on a perilous, life-altering journey with the dog's owner, Dethen Therone.

Dethen. Dark, withdrawn, infuriating. All Roxy wants is to make sure his dog's okay and to never deal with the stubborn jerk again. But as they exit the veterinary office, they are attacked. Roxy's certain Dethen's mixed up in drugs, when the most awesomely unbelievable event occurs - Dethen unfurls two majestic wings from his back and spreads them wide, their coal-colored plumage lost to the night sky.

This single event parachutes Roxy into a fight for survival. What she witnessed shouldn't have been possible. Angel's wings lie outside the scope of human perception. But her exceptional ability has made her a target, one the monstrous Fallen angels desperately want to obtain.

Lost and alone, Roxy asks Dethen for help. Reluctantly, he agrees, but as the violent past he's been racing to forget catches up with him, Roxy realizes that Dethen - her only hope at staying alive and discovering who she really is - may prove to be her greatest threat.

BOUND BY FATE, is a Young Adult novel complete at 68,000 words. It combines elements of fantasy, suspense and forbidden love and will appeal to readers of blah, blah, blah…


Here is the first few hundred words to give you a feel for my writing.

Roxy Lockhart sipped the whipped topping from her caramel latte and trotted down the steps and onto the sidewalk in front of The BookNook. The sun had set and High Street was alight with old-fashioned lampposts. Roxy breathed deep the humid late June air. Summer was by far her favorite time of year. Across the four-way intersection, catty-corner from the bookstore was Bellefonte’s acclaimed Talleyrand Park. The park entrance twinkled with strands of white lights that reflected charmingly off Spring Creek. She hated living in rural PA, but at times, she had to admit her traditional town had its appeal.

She turned right and continued in the opposite direction of the park. She passed the locals’ favorite pub, just filling-up with the evening crowd, and headed down a side street to her car. She wore her long hair in a ponytail and it bounced as she walked, swaying side to side, mirroring her mood. She spotted her beat-up, old VW and her elation grew. She’d been driving for four months and cherished every second of it. The freedom to go where she wanted, when she wanted. No more sitting home on a Friday night because her mother wouldn’t take her anywhere. No more walking for hours to get somewhere she could drive to in minutes. And the best part, no more taking the bus to school.

Roxy blew across the surface of her coffee and took a small sip, when the squeal of tires caught her attention. In a fraction of a second, as if someone pushed a button on a remote control, the scene in front of her turned to slow motion.

It was a sensation she’d experienced before. Maybe she’d dropped a glass of milk or a delicate figurine and watched as it fell, end over end, before smashing to the floor. In those few moments, from when the object left her hand, before meeting its final fate, she felt as if she could just move fast enough she could stop the tragic ending.

Time slowed and her heart thudded hard against her ribcage. She stood in the middle of the street, the half-moon low in the sky. At the end of the alley, a single old-fashioned lamppost lit up the corner, acting as a spotlight as the tragic events unfolded before her.

Across an empty parking lot, further down the intersecting alley, an oversized cargo van came speeding down the tight, narrow expanse of road, swerving around parked cars and piles of garbage. Her eyes darted from the van to a black dog trotting down the sidewalk, completely unaware that its next few steps may be its last.

Roxy’s jaw dropped wide and she sucked in a breath of panic. The coffee slid from her grasp. The cup smashed to the ground, the hot liquid stinging her legs. She reacted on instinct and dug her flip-flops in, sprinting toward the animal, a battle cry tearing from her lungs.

The dog never acknowledged her fear-fueled screams and continued its oblivious trek into the street. She wanted to cover her eyes, but couldn’t look away. An awful cracking thump, followed by a heartbreaking yelp, pierced the air as the vehicle hit the animal.
Time began to move again. Roxy pushed harder and ran faster, tears filling her eyes, her breath caught in her throat. She fell to the ground next to the injured dog, ignoring the burn of road rash on her bare knees.

“OhmyGod! OhmyGod! OhmyGod!” She chocked, her hands flailing, tears streaming down her cheeks. Drops of blood littered the alleyway. Her stomach lurched. She didn’t do so well with blood. Concentrate. Don’t look at the blood. Focus on the dog. She took a deep breath and examined the animal. His eyes were open, brows tilted in pain. His breathing was heavy, a heartbreaking whine escaping with each pant.

Anyone interested, please PM me. And thanks for looking!!!

RaisaLlyn
01-20-2014, 12:10 AM
That's really great writing, but it does feel quite dramatic.
(Especially this part:

“OhmyGod! OhmyGod! OhmyGod!” She chocked, her hands flailing, tears streaming down her cheeks. )
Why does she care so much for the dog? Is she an animal lover? How old is she?
If it were me in that situation, I know I would be horrified and sickened, but not crying or as panicked. I would not want to go near the dog because I wouldn't want to see the mess it was in, but of course that is different for everyone.
It is just a suggestion, but maybe she cares so much about the dog because it looks exactly like one she had in the past that she loved but it died?

sttarzz99
01-20-2014, 02:13 AM
Thanks for the different perspective. If a former revision I actually had Roxy stand there shocked, unsure what to do, horrified by what happened and afraid the animal was dead. Then, she saw the dog's cheat heave and realized he was still alive and, at that point, ran to help him. I guess this version may be a little dramatic, but I wanted dramatic. I wanted a different "hook", something unique, and I wanted to immediately create sympathy and likability in my protagonist. Roxy's a compassionate girl heartbroken by witnessing such a traumatic event. And she not the type to stand by in such a situation, but one who jumps into action without regard...

Again, thank you for your opinion. Ii's something for me to consider. I think a little more of the chapter may better clarify and resolve the situation she's in. I'll post the whole chapter.

sttarzz99
01-20-2014, 02:23 AM
CHAPTER 1
 
Roxy Lockhart sipped the whipped topping from her caramel latte and trotted down the steps and onto the sidewalk in front of The BookNook. The sun had set and High Street was alight with old-fashioned lampposts. Roxy breathed deep the humid late June air. Summer was by far her favorite time of year. Across the four-way intersection, catty-corner from the bookstore was Bellefonte’s acclaimed Talleyrand Park. The park entrance twinkled with strands of white lights that reflected charmingly off Spring Creek. She hated living in rural PA, but at times, she had to admit her traditional town had its appeal.

She turned right and continued in the opposite direction of the park. She passed the locals’ favorite pub, just filling-up with the evening crowd, and headed down a side street to her car. She wore her long hair in a ponytail and it bounced as she walked, swaying side to side, mirroring her mood. She spotted her beat-up, old VW and her elation grew. She’d been driving for four months and cherished every second of it. The freedom to go where she wanted, when she wanted. No more sitting home on a Friday night because her mother wouldn’t take her anywhere. No more walking for hours to get somewhere she could drive to in minutes. And the best part, no more taking the bus to school.

Roxy blew across the surface of her coffee and took a small sip, when the squeal of tires caught her attention. In a fraction of a second, as if someone pushed a button on a remote control, the scene in front of her turned to slow motion.

It was a sensation she’d experienced before. Maybe she’d dropped a glass of milk or a delicate figurine and watched as it fell, end over end, before smashing to the floor. In those few moments, from when the object left her hand, before meeting its final fate, she felt as if she could just move fast enough she could stop the tragic ending.

Time slowed and her heart thudded hard against her ribcage. She stood in the middle of the street, the half-moon low in the sky. At the end of the alley, a single old-fashioned lamppost lit up the corner, acting as a spotlight as the tragic events unfolded before her.

Across an empty parking lot, further down the intersecting alley, an oversized cargo van came speeding down the tight, narrow expanse of road, swerving around parked cars and piles of garbage. Her eyes darted from the van to a black dog trotting down the sidewalk, completely unaware that its next few steps may be its last.

Roxy’s jaw dropped wide and she sucked in a breath of panic. The coffee slid from her grasp. The cup smashed to the ground, the hot liquid stinging her legs. She reacted on instinct and dug her flip-flops in, sprinting toward the animal, a battle cry tearing from her lungs.

The dog never acknowledged her fear-fueled screams and continued its oblivious trek into the street. She wanted to cover her eyes, but couldn’t look away. An awful cracking thump, followed by a heartbreaking yelp, pierced the air as the vehicle hit the animal.

Time began to move again. Roxy pushed harder and ran faster, tears filling her eyes, her breath caught in her throat.

She fell to the ground next to the injured dog, ignoring the burn of road rash on her bare knees.

"OhmyGod! OhmyGod! OhmyGod!" She chocked, her hands flailing, tears streaming down her cheeks. Drops of blood littered the alleyway. Her stomach lurched. She didn’t do so well with blood. Concentrate. Don’t look at the blood. Focus on the dog. She took a deep breath and examined the animal. His eyes were open, brows tilted in pain. His breathing was heavy, a heartbreaking whine escaping with each pant.

Footsteps caught her attention. She turned from the dog to the newcomer, a boy somewhere near her age, no older than nineteen or twenty. For a moment, she thought he might be the owner of the van, but a quick glance around showed the vehicle was nowhere in sight. Her anger flared at the carelessness of the driver.

"Did you see what just happened?" Roxy asked the boy as she wiped tears from her face with a shaky hand. "It was so awful. Some jerk came flying down the alley and hit this dog. He’s alive, but hurt bad."

The boy didn’t answer. He knelt and placed his palm on the dog’s chest. The dog whined and eased its eyes shut, comforted by the boy’s touch.

"Is he yours?" Roxy asked.

The boy ran his fingers gently down the dog’s back and stood. He crossed his arms and surveyed the surrounding alleyway and empty parking lot.

"If you don’t want to answer me…," Roxy paused. What the hell was up with this guy? "…then, whatever. But this dog needs to get to a vet."

The boy shifted his focused to her. He was tall, Roxy guessed somewhere just over six feet, and his arms crossed against his chest emphasized broad, thickly muscled shoulders. The darkness made it difficult to distinguish his features, but his hair appeared black and despite the humid night, he wore khaki cargo pants, a three-quarter length jacket and heavy combat boots.

"No. No vets," he said, his voice hard and level.

Roxy’s brows shot up. "You can’t be serious? He’s hurt bad. He may die."

"He’ll be fine. He just needs time."

Roxy jumped to her feet and stepped in close, the top of her head in line with his mouth, forcing her to look up. "I don’t care if this dog is yours or not, he’s going to the vet!"

A low guttural growl emanated from the dog.

"Pitch, enough." The boy squatted and placed his hand on the dog’s chest. The growl turned into a soft whimper. The pained sound tore at Roxy’s heart and she bent back down.

"It’s alright, we’re going to take care of you," she said. She reached out to pet the dog, but a snarl of warning made her pause midair.

"Hey, it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you." She eased her hand in close allowing the dog to smell her scent. After a long second, he titled russet eyes toward hers and a wet, black tongue escaped his mouth, licking her once across the back of the hand.

"That’s right! Good dog!" She said and ran her fingers through the dog’s coarse hair. She smiled at the boy.

"What’d you call him? Pitch?"

The boy nodded once, studying her through narrowed eyes. "I’ve never seen him act like that with anyone. Not even me."

"Well, Pitch needs medical attention." The boy’s brows furrowed, an argument forming in his half-slit eyes, but he remained quiet. Not that it mattered. Roxy was taking Pitch with or without his consent. She couldn’t believe he wasn’t more upset his dog was hurt. Some people should not be allowed to own animals.

"It’s late, but I know a 24-hour emergency vet. Do you have a car?"

The boy shook his head.

"My car’s half a block away. Stay with Pitch. I’ll go get it." It was a statement, not a question, but she held his stare until he nodded his agreement.

She hurried down the alley toward her car. Her cell chimed with a text message. Crap, she totally forgot she was supposed to meet-up with her best friend, Marissa. No time for that now. She set her phone to silent and jumped in the driver’s seat. She turned around in the tight space the alley provided and eased up next to Pitch and the boy, careful to give them room. She left the engine running and hopped out. She pulled the door open wide and flipped her seat forward.

"What kind of dog is this? He’s huge." In the panic of the accident, Roxy hadn’t considered the size of the dog. But as she peered into her compact backseat, trying to figure out how they were going to get Pitch in without hurting him further, she realized he was massive. He had a broad and square-shaped head, with a medium-length muzzle. His ears were v-shaped and hung close to his cheeks. His short, black coat shone sleekly in the pale moonlit night, accentuating his powerful muscle tone.

The boy shrugged. Roxy rolled her eyes, of course he didn’t know. God, this guy was next to useless. "How’re we gonna get him in the car? He must weigh a hundred pounds."

"Step back. I’ve got him."

She hopped back, giving him room to maneuver. He bent and gathered Pitch into his arms. He whispered something, Roxy couldn’t make out what, but the tone sounded reassuring. He scooped up the dog and a few whimpers escaped. He readjusted his hold and eased Pitch into the backseat. Once situated, the boy slid the seat into position, a hint of concern on his face. Roxy felt a stab of guilt for judging him so harshly. Maybe he wasn’t as coldhearted as she thought.

"Okay. That went better than expected. Get in. The vet’s about five minutes away," she said and darted around to the driver’s seat. She clicked her seatbelt into place and turned to check on her wounded passenger. Pitch’s body filled the seat end to end, his head resting on the headrest. He breathing was better and he’d stopped whining. Roxy crossed her fingers. Hopefully, that was a good sign.

She put the car in drive and started up the alley. She turned left on High Street, drove past Talleyrand Park and continued across town toward the 24-hour emergency vet.

"I’m so sorry that van hit your dog. It was so weird, almost like the driver was trying to hit him. God, people can be so sick." She waited for a reply, but the boy remained quiet. She shook her head and flexed her fingers along the edge of the steering wheel. She hated uncomfortable silences. But if he wasn’t going to talk, neither was she.

The vet came into view, and she turned into the parking lot. Maple Hills Animal Hospital sat close to the road between a dry cleaner and a sandwich shop, both businesses closed for the evening. She drove around back and parked near the rear entryway. She hurried out, unlatched the driver’s seat and pulled it forward.

"Do you think you can carry Pitch all the way into the waiting room?"

"Don’t need to," the boy said and nodded toward the backseat.

Pitch slid from the car and eased himself onto all fours. Roxy gasped and rushed forward, ready to help the dog if he collapsed. But Pitch was steady on his feet.
Roxy glanced at the boy with wide-eyes. "But that’s impossible. I watched that van hit him. It’s a miracle he’s even alive."

The boy smirked. In the surrounding light from the veterinary building, Roxy could better make out his features. His hair wasn’t black, but dark brown and fell loosely across his forehead, framing piercing blue eyes. With his cheek pulled up in an arrogant grin, Roxy hated to admit it, but he was actually quite cute. An admission that made her dislike him that much more.

"Told you he needed time and he’d be fine."

Really, he was going with ‘I told you so’? Roxy huffed and spun on her heel away from his gloating expression. She reached out to grasp onto Pitch’s collar and lead him into the vet. It was a miracle the dog was walking. She wasn’t letting him out of her site without a check-up from the doctor.
Roxy felt around Pitch’s muscular neck, but found it bare.

"Seriously? You don’t have a collar on your dog?" Why was she surprised? "Stay here. I’ll see if the vet has one we can borrow."

"Pitch doesn’t need a collar."

Roxy put her hands on her hips. "That waiting room is full of cats and dogs. Last thing we need to deal with is a dog fight."

The boy shook his head and turned his back to her. He started for the entrance and whistled sharply. Pitch hurried up behind him. The boy didn’t even check to make sure Pitch was following or at least to make sure Pitch could follow him. Roxy’s blood pressure skyrocketed. She took a deep, calming breath. They were there to make sure Pitch was okay. The fact that he could walk was a lot better than the alternative. She only had to deal with this jerk for a short while longer.

They entered the waiting room. A little dog yipped loudly and pulled on its leash, and an over-excited golden lab whined as it paced the length of its leash. As soon as both animals spotted Pitch, they fell silent. The little dog ran under its owner’s chair, and the lab eased in closer to its owner before lying on the tiled floor. A high-pitched, mewling hiss came from a cat carrier in the corner, and then the entire waiting room fell quiet. Pitch followed the boy to the check-in counter, never once taking notice to the other animals in the room. Roxy hated to admit it, but the boy was right. Pitch didn’t need a collar.

"Can I help you?" A lady asked from the other side of the counter.

"Hi. Yes. This dog was hit by a van," Roxy said.

"Name?" The woman asked as she chewed loudly on a piece of gum.

"Pitch." Roxy answered.

"No, the owner’s name."

Roxy raised an eyebrow at the boy. Good question.

"Dethen Therone."

Long, bright pink lacquered nails typed on the keyboard in front of her. "Address?"

"Currently? Nowhere," Dethen replied.

The woman looked up at him though heavily mascaraed lashes and popped her gum. She exhaled through her nose.

"Really? You got no address?"

Roxy stepped forward and elbowed Dethen out of her way.

"Roxy Lockhart. 710 Valley View Road, Bellefonte."

The woman began typing again.

"Dog, right?" The receptionist asked and peered over the counter at Pitch who was sitting and watching the scene before him with intelligent eyes.

"Sex?" Roxy glanced at Dethen. Sex?

"Oh, male." Roxy answered. She hoped no one noticed the slight flush in her checks.

"Age?" God, this was taking forever. Good thing this wasn’t an emergency or anything. Roxy regarded Dethen with impatience.

"About 8 months," Dethen answered. Eight months? Pitch was still a puppy? If he was a hundred pounds now, how big was he going to get?

"An upfront deposit of $300.00 is required. Cash or credit. No checks. Depending on cost of treatment, you either get a refund or must pay the remaining balance in full."

Roxy tucked her hair behind her ear and glanced up at Dethen. She hadn’t expected that. "Do you, umm… Do you have three hundred dollars to give her? Or possibly a credit card?" Roxy tried to sound meek. She hated asking him for so much money, but Pitch was his dog.

"Sorry for wasting your time ma’am,"Dethen said and strolled out the entryway, Pitch totting right behind.
Roxy held back a shriek of aggravation.

An irritating popping sound drew her attention to the counter. "What’d you say? Dog was hit by a van?" The receptionist asked, her chin resting in her hand, her head bobbing up and down as she chomped her gum. "He looks fine to me."

sttarzz99
02-18-2014, 12:42 AM
Rewrote my original post. I'm looking for more beta readers. Anyone interested in a swap please PM me.