Wednesday, January 14, 2009

27 SECRET AGENT

Title: Forest for the Trees
Genre: YA paranormal


The elf entered the coffee shop around nine that night. Tuesdays were usually dead, but it was warm for a May evening in New Hampshire. As a result, customers swarmed the tiny place, keeping me glued to the cappuccino machine. So I didn’t realize what she was right away.

She found a small table in the corner and wrote in a notebook. Given the way she kept glancing toward the counter, I suspected she wasn’t working on her novel like a couple other patrons. Her hair was close cropped in a—ugh—pixie style, and she wore tight bootcut jeans. To most people, she probably looked like a college student, but I knew better. There was something off about her face. Something a little too perfect. Something that smacked of a fae glamour.

Dear Goddess, I was so screwed. What did the fae want from me now?

“Never seen anything like that. Who gave it to ye?” An old guy sporting Willie Nelson-style braids plucked my bracelet.

I jumped at his touch and sloshed hazelnut decaf all over the counter. Crap. Focus, Krista, I lectured myself. But the problem was I had focused all too well—on how to avoid the elf. I mean, there was only one plausible reason why she’d be hanging out in Cuppa Joe’s, and it wasn’t the brew.

I jerked my wrist away and pushed Willie’s coffee across the counter. “My father.”

“Yeah, and your father is?”

Absent without leave? Bat-shit crazy? Crunchier than granola?

41 comments:

  1. Love the voice and I'd keep reading even tho I'm not an elf person. :)

    Nitpick: I'd delete the "focus, Krista" because we know she's in her own head. Good job!

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  2. Enjoyed the closeness of the narrative, the voice and the character descriptions. Nicely done.

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  3. A nice active beginning. Terrific voice! I'm hooked and would definitely read on.

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  4. Hooked!

    I think this is another that I'll rank as top 5.

    I can't wait to see what the agent says!

    Good luck!

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  5. Definitely hooked! I absolutely love this one and am dying to know what happens next. :)

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  6. This was so good! I want to read more for sure.

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  7. Hooked! Love the edgy tone of the story. You make and elf in a coffee shop seem totally normal.

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  8. I was scanning and your first sentence caught me. The pixie hair cut made me wince, but I guess it's supposed to. Would laughed aloud at Crunchier than granola, but I don't want to wake the baby. Well done!

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  9. It has a great voice. I'm hooked.

    My feedback:

    Why is the old guy saying "ye"? Nothing else made me get quite that feeling. It all feels contemporary except and "ye" sounds like it comes from a different time.

    The last sentence in the first paragraph didn't quite flow for me. I think it has something to do with the prior sentence starting with "as a result".

    I'm quite intrigued and what to understand her relationship with the elfs..."what did the fae want from me now?" It makes me want more.

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  10. Oh - and I like your title!

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  11. Love the voice and the MC, love the premise, love the jumping-right-into-the-story business. I'm hooked and would definitely read on, with only one caveat: I'm hoping this won't be too much like Wicked Lovely, with the mortal girl trying to avoid contact with the fae.

    Oh, I love the first sentence, too. Nice flow of words.

    You could try "ya" or "yeh" instead of "ye"; it does sound a bit archaic if it's pronounced "yee."

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  12. I immediately thought of Wicked Lovely, too. But I liked the voice here and the story questions you raised, and that last line was a winner.

    Good job.

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  13. I liked it, though I thought of Wicked Lovely when I read it (which I loved, btw). I'm not sure why it's paranormal. It sounds like urban fantasy.

    Enjoyed the voice. Would want to read more.

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  14. Hooked. Love it. How could you not keep reading after that first sentence? I love how you let us know she's had experiences with elves before, and not pleasant ones. I feel so much tension with the elf aware of the MC and the MC aware of the elf. Interesting standoff. I would absolutely keep reading.

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  15. Meh.

    Elves. In New Hampshire? In a coffee shop? Not my thing.

    Writing is good, but didn't win me over to the UF/ paranormal genre!

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  16. Interesting! I'd read more.

    One comment: there was too much between the Willie Nelson question and Krista's response--by the time she said "My father," I'd forgotten the original question.

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  17. This opening reminded me a lot of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely. I guess this could be good in that you already have an audience who likes stories about girls who sees fairies and is suspicious of them, Yet I wish the opening felt a bit more unique.

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  18. Amused - sounds like this is going to be an entertaining book. Hooked. <- And this means a lot, particularly since normally when I see the word 'elf', I take off running in the opposite direction.

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  19. I like this. It's memorable and creative. I like your voice too. I'd keep reading!

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  20. I love the voice. Definitely hooked.

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  21. Author here. Wow, I'm amused by all the comments about Wicked Lovely. I loved WL, but there's really nothing similar about the plot or the world building! ;-) Of course, there's no way to tell that from 250 words, heh.

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone! I really appreciate it!

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  22. I liked this, great writing and description. Two nitpicks: This sentence seems out of place: “Given the way she kept glancing toward the counter, I suspected she wasn’t working on her novel like a couple other patrons.” Something about it bugs me, maybe it isn’t necessary (does it matter that she’s not working on a novel?). It interrupts the flow of the description.

    I was also thrown off by the Willie Nelson guy. He takes an abnormal interest in her father -- or is that part of the story? She’s worried about the elf, but this guy is all over her father. Maybe if we see more about the bracelet -- what makes it so different that this stranger would grab it and ask who her father is.

    Overall, I would read more!

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  23. Secret Agent Elf QueenJanuary 15, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    I like this a lot. Despite the inevitable echoes of Melissa Marr et al, you have a fresh and feisty tone in here that brings this little encounter to life. This is a pacy and arresting opening (I like the pixie haircut joke) and it ends with a zinger.
    Nice work. You've intrigued me.

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  24. It reminds me of a combination of other books I have read. The Morganville Vampire Series and Wicked Lovely, a lot. The coffee shop was used big time in the Morganville series. I just read it reminded other people also, so I guess I am being redundant.

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  26. Not sure. I like the voice. I like the genre. I think I need a little more to be fully hooked. But I'd keep reading. I have a feeling the hook for me is just around the corner. :)

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  27. I am hooked. Love the voice and the situation you've set up.

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  28. And may I add the Goddess thing is used by PC Cast in her books.

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  29. Hooked me…
    Because for some strange reason, an elf in a coffee shop works for me. Mainly because it’s something I’ve never seen (or read). It hooks me because I want to know why this coffee girl is so worried about the elf and if the bracelet has anything to do with anything.

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  30. The Goddess thing is used by a lot of people, including Wiccan friends of mine. It's no different than someone saying Dear God.

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  31. great voice. wonderful last paragraph. I'd read on to find out why the elves wanted her.

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  32. Way hooked. I wish I could read more now. The MC has a great voice. You've given a great mystery with the elf and questions about her father.

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  33. LOVE THIS!!!! What a unique set up and character voice. I love the sarcasm and the narrator's voice! Though, I will admit the narration sounded distinctly masculine before you tell us Krista's name (and thus gender). I'd absolutely read on!

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  34. Wow! This is great, I loved it. I'm hooked.

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  35. I am hooked.

    Wonderful voice.

    I think I'd like to see their eyes connect so we can be sure the elf is there for her, but otherwise I think you're off and running!

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  36. I loved the elf in the coffee shop, what a hoot. Seemed a little wicked-lovely style. I would read on.

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  37. I like this and would read more. I also like her snide thoughts in response to the question about her father.

    Good job.

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  38. I'm hooked. Loved the voice and elves in NH!!

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