Oct 19, 2009


Click here for a search string on IRON THIRST. There are queries and sample pages available.

I redid the beginning, and added a chapter before. It is told from another POV, someone that is aware of the danger that lurks. Let me know what you guys think. Especially of the POV switch in chapter 2. The rest of the story is told in Felicity's POV. Thanks-

Chapter 1

*/ /*

*/Adam Bristow/*

It is merely the beginning of the night when Gabriel decides upon his first victim. He locks his sights on her the moment she steps into the bar. The curvaceous blonde lass will be in is bed in under an hour, and shortly after her blood will be in his veins. She doesn't stand a chance.

Thursday night at DragonCon is when most of the guests check into their hotel and start the weekend with a drink in hand. My hand is empty. The first night of Con is when I begin to patrol, as the out-of-towners descend upon our town. I'm not worried about the geeks, the costumed
fans, or the party animals. My concern is very specific--those who are removing their disguises. Vamps get this weekend to be themselves, but there are rules, and this bloodsucker is dangerously close to breaking the first one--aggravating me.

His fangs are protruding, turned on by the blue-eyed soon-to-be donor. She doesn't blink as she gravitates towards him. What irks me is that she is an unwilling donor. There will be plenty of those, but I ain't going to sit on my arse and watch. She may be walking to him on her own
two feet, but the brain in her head currently belongs to him.

What a lovely time to buy my dear old pal a drink?

"Gabriel," I call out as I step in front of her path, breaking their eye contact and the hold he has over her. Bastard snarls at me. "Run along, love," I tell the blonde.

She blinks a few times with that expression of confusion. Lost at why she is standing here, she lets out a heavy sigh and scurries along looking for her friends.

When I look back, Gabriel has painted a smile on his face. He leans in close to me so others can't hear. "Bristow, if you continue to run off my dinner then I will be forced to believe that you are volunteering. Although you're not my taste, your blood is much too bitter."

No one likes a clever vampire. I pull the unlit pipe from my lips, and raise an eyebrow at him. "You are not threatening me now, are ya?"

His smile vanishes. "I was not harming anyone, nor am I breaking any of your precious rules."

"That's debatable, and I am not really up to the debate. So, just behave yourself and you'll live, well exist, to see your two hundredth birthday."

"Ahh, you flatter me. I am not nearly that old."

"But I am," adds a smooth Arabian voice from behind me.

I am a rather smart bloke. I wouldn't still be alive if I wasn't. So allowing a thousand year old vamp to sneak up on me is just piss poor form. I turn to see the dark-skinned vampire, fangs extended, staring back at me. I haven't seen Zamir in nearly ten years, and if I am being
honest, I ain't thrilled at seeing him now.

"What are you doing here?" I ask, rubbing my palm over the prickly stubble that is my hair. /More importantly, when are you leaving?/

I could take out Gabriel and three fledglings all by myself. But this bloody bastard shooting holes through my skin, I ain't so sure of. I avert my eyes to a spot above his slick black hair. Looking at the floor would give the appearance of weakness, and I ain't weak and even less stupid.

"Ah, my dearest Bristow, you do not seem happy to see me. No matter. Many of my progenies look expectantly upon this weekend, and I find myself wondering what all the chatter is about. Thought I would come and see for myself."

Rubbish, I'm sure. "I'm on my early rounds making sure everyone keeps it copasetic. We want all the humans' hearts beating and the secret safe. We got rules in this area. So, keep it peaceful."

As I turn to walk away, Zamir says, "We are aware of your so-called rules. Maybe you should run along and check the more recent additions to our world. The ones that actually care."

I hate the way his words crawl over my skin. I glance at Gabriel's smug face, grinning like he's getting away with something. I'd love nothing more than to knock him arse over elbow, but starting a fight on the first night over something as silly as pride would not be my best move.
Not without back up. Currently, the rest of my team is doing the exact same thing all through the other three hotels.

If the humans knew what was swarming DragonCon, they might have just stayed home behind locked doors. Not that a flimsy door would keep the monsters out.

Chapter 2

*/Felicity Johnson/*

Who knew two tiny fangs could be so hard to find? I bought the pair nearly five months ago, and I specifically remember thinking to put them somewhere that I could find them. My room is a complete and utter disaster. I have been through every drawer, emptying the contents onto
my bed in search for the last thing needed to complete my costume. I can't be a vampire without fangs.

I plop down on the bed, and close my eyes. /Where did I put them?/

"Bathroom, second drawer, along with the red contacts," I say aloud to the ceiling.

I leap from the bed. Christian will be here any minute, and I want him to see the complete look. I slide open the drawer, and there they sit. I can't believe I forgot the contacts too. That set me back nearly a hundred bucks.

I insert the teeth, and begin trying to attach the colored plastic to my eyeballs. I should have waited on the eye makeup. I run back to my closet to grab shoes, zipping up the knee-high leather boots.

I stop by the mirror for one last look. The struggle was well worth it. My eyes glow a bright crimson with black around the edges, as if the fire inside has burnt the curved periphery. I bounce my palm off the spikes of my black pixie wig. The menacing grin is complete with two
sharp fangs over my scarlet red lips that look poised to wreak havoc amongst the unsuspecting city of Atlanta, Georgia.

Well, the town won't be that unsuspecting considering the rest of the people at DragonCon will also be dressed in costumes ranging from Star Trek to Night of the Living Dead.

As I darken the shadows under my eyes to give myself the true undead look, the doorbell rings. I slide down the banister to get to the door. Safer than taking the stairs in these boots.

I fling the door open, and there he stands. We both let out a scream and begin cackling at each other. Christian is a yicky-ucky zombie, complete with a tattered, stained, once-white shirt, suspenders, and pants that look as if they had been buried. His normally perfect hair is dirty and
a total mess. His skin has been painted a weird grayish green, and his mouth is bloodstained. No one would recognize this scary critter as my clean-cut best buddy.

"Felicity Johnson, you look a-freakin-mazing. I would have never thought that you, of all people, could pull this off."

I should be offended, but he is quite right. Everyday "me" is not sexy, not scary, and definitely not a vampire.

"Well, hello Pot, I must be the kettle," I say with a laugh while opening the door wide. "Hey, listen to this," I say, letting out my version of a snarl. "I've been practicing."

"Um, keep practicing. You sound like a drowning kitten."

I stick out my pouty lip. I at least sound like an angry kitten, not a completely helpless one.

"Hey, Fee… I…I…," Christian stutters. He looks down and starts to fiddle with his shirt sleeves, pulling them longer. "I may have kinda invited Mike."

"Why, in the name of everything holy, would you do that?" I ask as I look down, fretting over the red tank top with three holes sliced across the front and the black leather miniskirt. It's one thing to look this way in front of Christian and tens of thousands of random strangers, but
Mike will never let me hear the end of it.

"He swears that he will be good, and he is excited about meeting some of the celebrities, and /he/ is even dressing up."

"Is he meeting us there?"

Christian walks over to the couch and plops down. He tugs again on the sleeves. They can't stretch any further. "No, he is meeting us here."

"Are you telling me that you gave Mr. Grabass my address? What were you thinking?"

He stops jerking on his clothes, and looks up at me. "You are totally over-reacting. Just calm down. He's not that bad."

My eyes roll like dice. Mike Fletcher is Christian's best guy friend who is nothing like him. More like his alter-ego. Where Christian is sweet, understanding, and everything a girl looks for in a best friend, Mike is a chauvinistic, egocentric, pig-headed jerk. They were fraternity brothers at UGA, home of the Bulldogs, and I've been stuck with him ever since. Lucky me.

The door bell rings, and I jump ten feet in the air. Just wonderful. I don't have time to tone down the outfit. I am stuck dressed like this with only a piece of wood separating me from my nemesis. I take a deep breath, and then open the door.

"Hey sexy lady, where's Felicity?" Mike says with a wink. I start to walk away, when he adds, "What's eating her? Wish it was…" I turn on my heels, and playfully punch him in the stomach before he can finish that thought.

"Dude, you said you would behave," Christian states.

"Man, that's before I knew she was going as Sexy Fee." He looks at me and tries to turn on the charm, softening his voice and flashing a smile. "Felicity, I am just kidding. I think it's cool you got all dressed up. You look really nice and very realistic. Can I lick your fangs?"

He almost had me believing that for a minute.


dolorah said...

OK, yeah; definitely on that second chapter. That is so much tighter, but conveys all three personalities perfectly. And of course, the excitement of the evening.

The new first chapter is also well written, but again, you are going for a prologue. I’ll repeat my opinion that this story doesn’t need a prologue; but I’m getting the feeling you really want one. Nothing wrong at all with that feeling. As the author, you would know best what will work for your novel.

Now, because you asked about POV, I’m going to stick pretty much to that in this feedback.

First off, I don’t agree with telling the beginning in one POV, and switching to a different one for the entire rest of the novel. By initially putting forth Bristow’s POV, I get a sense that he is a major character, and I will be expecting his viewpoint later in the story. I’m thinking that if you need this first chapter, you might want to think about either: a) putting it in Fee’s POV, or b) switching to Bristow’s POV at consistent points throughout the rest of the story.

If the introduction of all these vampires is necessary to the story, then you might want to re-evaluate your overall POV. Otherwise, use it later from Felicity’s POV. Maybe have Bristow explaining to her his attraction to her. It’s a good scene; I’m sure you’ll figure out how to use it.

The rest of this critique is assuming you will use this as your opening chapter.

The other thing that goes along with POV is voice. The voice of the second chapter clearly shows Fee’s personality and drew me into the story; into her world. It felt natural, contemporary.

But the voice of the first chapter is undefined. All three vampires speak with a mix of formality and slang and carry the same tone. Without the tags, I don’t clearly “hear” the speaker. And the voice (regardless of POV) seems coerced - forced into language and verbiage not natural to their character.

My POV confusion starts with the first line: "It is merely the beginning of the night when Gabriel decides upon his first victim." At first I think this is in third person limited to Gabriel, as his name is used with a description of his actions and a sense of his motivation. Then the second paragraph is all “I” statements (first person), and the third paragraph shifts again to the third person POV.

When Bristow decides to “buy his old friend a drink” and calls the rebellious vampire by name, I am again confused. "Gabriel," I call out as I step in front of her path . . For a moment, I thought Gabriel was a woman.

There is also a lack of individuality in the three vampires. Aside from Adam removing his unlit pipe from his lips, and Zamir’s smooth Arabian voice and dark skin, there is nothing to distinguish one vamp from the other. For me, since none of them have a distinctive voice, they need other character traits or differences to set each apart.

If you (as the author) have a clear picture in your mind of what these characters look and sound like, then you’ll be able to convey that to the reader. Focus on that uniqueness with each bit of dialogue or action. You have a lot of strong characters in your story, and I’m anxious to see how you develop them, make them real.

An awesome start Aj. Thanks for sharing it and accepting feedback.


Roni Loren said...

Aj, I think Donna's feedback is spot on. I also think that if you're going to have that prologue, you need to do it in deep third person POV, not first. Having more than one first person POV in a book is hard to pull off. There are rare instances where it works, but I'm not sure it does here.

I agree that the first line makes it sound like we're in Gabriel's POV, then is jarring when we find out it's not.

Also, the tone of the prologue and the tone of the first chapter don't match. So your reader isn't going to be sure whether or not they are starting a dark vamp tale or a lighthearted chicklitty mystery.

Great job on tightening up the second chapter. :)

A.J. Frey said...

This is exactly what I needed to know. Thank you. I was unsure if it worked - and it doesn't. I agree. Felicity doesn't know about vampires until way later in the book. The story is Felicity.

The only reason I thought of doing this was so that the reader would know something that she doesn't heightening the drama when she meets the characters that the reader already knows is a vamp. (No, No, don't open the closet door! LOL) But you are right, if someone picks up the book because they luuuuvvvvve chapter one, they will hate the rest of it.

That and I still struggle with which genre it falls into.

The book does take a dark twist, but it takes Felicity with it - how she handles it, what she does - is the story. So, I have to agree with you both. But you never know 'til you try.

I am supposed to turn this in for a critique from a local writer, and I needed to know if she was getting Bristow's opening chapter or not. I'm going with not.

Thanks guys! TGFHC!! (thank God for honest critiques)

dolorah said...

My two cents on the genre: just call is paranormal romance. Like women's fiction, it covers a lot of territory. Just make sure whatever Agents you submit to are varied in their specific tastes for paranormal - dark, witty, erotic - and let them decide exactly where it falls.

This is such a catchy story.


word verif: puslamy. when the word you need to type on the page is stuck somewhere between the tip of your tongue and the back of your mind.