Jul 19, 2009


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Chapter 1 – “Ten Years”

“I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible.”

“Mrs. Newman?” A tall boy in the front row interrupts my reading aloud.

“Yes Jason?”

“Why should it matter if Holden is a great liar, he’s not writing for anyone else? I don’t understand why we can’t trust his narration? And please don’t say: What do you think?” I laugh aloud at how well he knows my style.

“Ok, let me ask you this Jason, Do you think it’s possible for someone to lie to themselves?” I say trying to work around his request.

“I guess I see what you mean – like denial?” He says

“Exactly, people lie to themselves all the time. Mothers in denial about their kid being the school bully. My kids not fat he’s just big boned!” The class is laughing and I have all their attention now.

“The only fact you really need to know when deciding what to take as true in the book is that
Holden’s perspective changes, the way he looks at the world changes from the beginning of the book to the end.”

“So I’m guessing that will be a test question?” Another boy says

“Absolutely, the test questions aren’t a secret. My intention is not to trick you.”

“That sounds like a trick to me!” A girl named Emma says

“If you’ve read the story, I mean really read it, you’ll do fine. I’m happy to give you my opinions on the interpretation, but if you decide that Holden really works for the CIA and you can give me examples and details to support that you won’t fail.”

“You know that could be true.” Jason says causing the entire classroom to erupt in laughter.

“Remember, I didn’t write the book – It’s not my place to tell you you’re wrong. Unless I can tell you didn’t read, of course.”

“In other words, there’s no easy way out?” Jason speaks up again.

“There never is.” I answer him with a smile.

4:00pm – Back in my Ford Escort, I can finally allow my mind to drift back to the girl on the beach. I try to recall some of the visions from earlier today. I remember the handsome boy’s tears and – why was he so upset? There was desperation in their eyes, something horrible had just happened – something tragic. I needed to replay the visions over and over until I could get to my computer. I know the wording won’t be perfect but I just had to get the story down. Somehow I knew if I could just get it out of my head the pieces would fall into place.

I unlocked the door, threw my things in the closet and sat down at the computer. Alone at last. For thirty minutes I type without a single hesitation. I’m jolted out of my fantasy world as the door bell rings. I hit the save button with a groan and head for the front door, it’s always something.

When I open the door a young man with dark curly hair and glasses is standing in front of me looking unbelievably anxious. His eyes widen when he sees me

“Holly! I can’t believe it’s you! You’re alright?” I recognize his face at last.

“Adam Silverman? What are you doing here?” He seems to be composing himself. Somehow it doesn’t seem like he had expected me to open the door.

“I was in town and I heard you lived here . . . . . with someone? I just thought I would stop by.” He could tell I wasn’t buying the “I-was-just-in-town” story. We hadn’t seen each other in ten years; maybe he wasn’t quite stable – mentally I mean.

“Would you like to come in, Adam?” I say slowly in case he might have trouble understanding me. He looks exactly the same; I can’t believe after ten years he hasn’t gained a pound. It looked like he even had the same glasses.

“Actually I just needed to give you something.” He follows me into the house and I point to the couch for him to have a seat.

“Really, what?” I say walking to the kitchen and filling a glass of water for him. He takes a large gulp right away then chokes and points at my left hand.

“The ring. . . on your hand?” He says stumbling with his words

“My wedding ring?” I say, he’s definitely messed up – drugs maybe? I hadn’t heard that but who knows. He swallows another gulp before speaking again.

“You’re married to. . . .?”

“David.” I say slowly again.

“Wow, David . . . huh that’s interesting.” I sat down next to him on the couch trying to get a good look at his eyes; I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for – dilated pupils, redness?

“Adam? Are you ok? I mean is something wrong?” he nodded without speaking; I prompt him again “Is that why you’re here?”

He set his glass down and turned to face me; his eyes looked normal – just anxious.


“What’s going on Adam? You can tell me.” He’s silent again looking down at his hands. I decide to try a different question.

“You seemed surprised to see me, were you expecting someone else?” I say trying to lighten the mood.

“Can you tell me something, Holly?”

“Sure, what?”

“Well, you know . . . what have you been up to. . . . .for the last ten years I mean?”

I laugh nervously

“All ten of them?”

“No, I mean what you do. Your job?”

“Oh, I’m teaching; high school English, at a school in Manhattan. I’m also trying my hand at fiction writing in my spare time.” I point towards the laptop on the coffee table.

“You’re writing a book? What about?” I give him a brief over view of the visions I’ve been having lately and the parts that I still haven’t unraveled yet.

“I didn’t really plan on writing a whole book, it’s just these ideas started flowing out of me and I had to get them down on paper. After a few days or so of writing I realized that I might have the beginnings of a novel.”

His eyes are wide and his face was so pale – I thought he was going to be sick. He bent down to get something from his bag, then handed me a notebook. I turn it over in my hands. The cover of the notebook is soft pink velvet with a swirling pattern covering it.

This is my journal, my thoughts, my writing. Writing I hadn’t seen for ten years.

“Where did you get this?” I say

“I acquired it recently from a good friend,” he said a little more composed than before. Or maybe my shock was so great it overshadowed my concern with his strange behavior. He handed me a piece of paper with an address on it.

“Come see me after you read this. I’ll need your help.” I’m still staring at the notebook and I don’t even notice him walking towards the door.

“Wait Adam, I already know what’s in here, let me help you; I know it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other, but you were such a great friend to me. Whatever’s going on with you I can help?” He looks at me for a few moments standing in front of the open door – his eyes look sad; defeated almost.

“There’s nothing wrong with me, Holly – trust me. Read it, I’ll be waiting.” He shuts the door quickly. My mind races trying to think of someone I can call to help him perhaps. I dial David’s number first his phone goes straight to voice mail.

Curiosity is eating at me now and I have to look. As I open the notebook a photograph falls out on to the floor. I pick it up staring at the girl in the photo. It’s me at eighteen or nineteen, I gasp when I notice the boy standing next to me. My legs give out and I fall back on to the couch. The boy in the photo has his arm around me kissing my cheek - his amazing blue eyes are still visible.

This is the boy from my visions; the one I’ve devoted over three hundred pages to. A boy I have never seen in my entire life. I open the book and start to read. . . . . . . . .

QUERY: Ghosts of Innocence (version 2)

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Dear Amazing Agent,

Shayla Carver, undercover agent and master assassin, has killed many times. That's what assassins do. Nothing to lose sleep over. But this mission is different; she's never killed a whole planet before.

She's seen it happen though, many years ago, when her own home burned on the orders of a young Emperor. And now she's ready, finally, to exact payment in kind from the whole rotten and murderous establishment.

Shayla has planned everything meticulously, except that she hasn't allowed for coming face to face with some of the two billion inhabitants she's about to slaughter. Ordinary people. Not the stereotyped strutting Imperials of her imagination, and not so readily dismissed as legitimate targets or collateral damage. And then there's the Emperor himself. An ordinary man with troubles and dreams of his own. Not the kind of man Shayla can picture giving such an order.

Now she's starting to lose sleep.

As she enslaves the destructive might of the Emperor's own fleet and launches the final stage of her plan, Shayla can no longer ignore the enormity of what she's doing. On the brink of success, she must choose: To complete her lifelong goal to rid humanity of a corrupt regime, or to heed her own misgivings and serve the man, her sworn enemy, that she's spent so many years pursuing.

"Ghosts of Innocence" is a science fiction novel complete at 95,000 words. I am also working on a sequel, "The Ashes of Home". Thank you for your time and consideration.


Wannabe Author

Julie's query revised - attempt #2

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Click here to read the sample pages.

Dear Agent,
I am currently seeking representation for my Young Adult novel, UNTITLED, complete at 90,000 words.

Seventeen year old Holly Flynn is about to matriculate into the ‘real world’ as she likes to call this high school after life. The only thing she’s in a hurry to do is hear that final bell and race out the doors of her New Jersey high school for the last time.

Through family connections Holly’s scored a summer job in Manhattan as camp counselor to a dozen rich kids whose bedrooms are probably bigger than her entire house. In no time, she’s immersed in the world of fancy cars and private drivers having no clue how much her life was about to change!

Holly’s completely devoted to her boyfriend and best friend of two years, David but when she meets Jackson, a fellow counselor she can’t stop thinking about him, or dreaming about him. Despite her incredible efforts to ignore his every move, she finds herself buried deep in solving the mysteries surrounding him; mysteries even he doesn’t understand.

Like his deceased mother and twin sister, Jackson has an unwanted and uncontrolled ability to inflict pain on those he’s close to, causing them to relive their worst memories and sentencing him to a lifetime of lonely solitude. But Holly’s opened up her heart to him more than she ever thought possible and is determined to find a way for them to be together – even if it causes her pain.

Holly and Jackson, along with the help of a surprising new friend begin a quest to unravel the mysteries of Jackson’s ability but find themselves faced with the opportunity to change Holly’s past leaving her with the impossible decision - be with her one true love or give her mother the life she should have had, removing the horrors of her past.

The ability to change the past is like playing God in a battle between right and wrong.