My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Excerpt Monday

My fellow writing friend, Jeannie Lin, posted on her blog about Excerpt Monday this past Friday. I decided to go ahead and try it, even though what I have is pretty rough.

For all Excerpt Monday links, go HERE. There’s a treasure trove of goodies there, from published and unpublished writers alike. **Do be aware of the ratings next to each of them as some are rated R or higher.**

The following is a blurb from my new project, a historical paranormal novel about the legendary Yuki-onna, currently titled Lady of the Snow.

Excerpt:

I float along the wind, blending in with the blinding snow.  Two men covered in straw coats and wide-brimmed bamboo hats struggle to make their way through the mountain pass, carrying piles of wood strapped to their backs. The smaller one stumbles in the deep snow, nearly losing his footing and falling off the edge of the narrow path to the dark valley below.

Watching their pathetic struggle against the elements makes me laugh. They will not survive the night with me following close behind.

Their last memory will be of my icy breath against their skin, taking their pitiful lives.

***
I’m outside the door of the shack where the two men found refuge. I could have easily taken their lives earlier but I thought  I’d let them have a false sense of security in their ramshackle sanctuary.

What makes them think they will survive such a night in such a pitiful excuse for shelter? Even the ferryman had abandoned his little hut for the protection of the village at the base of the mountain, knowing that staying the night would put him at my mercy.

No fire-light comes from within; the shack is too small to build one. I smiled. Fire makes it more difficult for me to come close. I grow stronger with each cooling degree of the bitter winds.

The uneven weather-worn door is all that separates me from my prey.  I fan my arms towards the door, directing the swirling winds towards it.  It opens with ease.

I enter the hut, the snow-light from behind me illuminating the small space. The men lay huddled beneath their straw coats. I hold back laughter.

That would not deter me.

I float over to the first man. His weather worn face has certainly seen better years.  His hair is streaked with black and gray. He looks remarkably peaceful in his slumber given the ordeal of his mountain trek. That serenity will soon turn to suffering once I touch him.

I bend over him and lay my fingers against his neck. His body jerks from my cold touch and his eyes fly open, staring into mine. He does not blink; I know my hypnotic gaze will prevent him from doing so.  But I don’t miss the obvious fear in those eyes—the same look I’d see thousands of times before over the centuries.

The man knows death awaits him.

The muscles in his neck tensed and I can feel them trembling beneath my hand.  The trembling soon extends throughout the rest of his body as it fights to maintain precious warmth. The blood pulsates through his neck faster, and his once calm breathing becomes quick and shallow.

I bend closer to the man’s face and blow my breath upon him. It comes out in a bright white smoke, encasing his face.  I watch as his lips, ears and nose turn blue. The pulse in his neck slows with each passing moment as his blood chills in his veins. His eyes close and I know that his end is near.

Soon, the steady drumming of his heart ceases entirely. I remove my hand from his neck as a sense of fulfillment washes over me. Each life I take renews my strength.

A sharp intake of breath from my right jolts my brief revelry. I turn and see the other man lying on his blanket, staring at me.

He is barely more than a boy.

He opens his mouth in an attempt to cry out but one glance into my eyes and he becomes paralyzed.

I float over to him in an instant and reach out to touch his neck.

I’m inches away from beginning his death when some strange sort of human feeling comes over me…something akin to  remorse.

I look at him again, inching my face closer to his. He is a handsome young man, with sharp cheekbones and a prominent lower jaw. And his eyes—there was no fear in them like there had been in the other man; he stares back at me with a mix of bravery and awe. But there is something else there in those deep brown irises, something that awakens a long forgotten memory.

A strange tingling bubbles up in my chest and I’d suddenly felt incredibly sad and forlorn, with an edge of  sudden desire.

I hate how vulnerable he’s making me feel–something no human ever had done. I will not be swayed by a pretty face and brave front. He will die the same way as the other man.

But I couldn’t shake his gaze—now I was the one mesmerized.

***

Yeah, it’s my first draft so there’s lots of issues, but I polished what I could 🙂

Please check out some of the other participants in Excerpt Monday, too!

Christina De Lorenzo, YA (PG-13)

Kaige, Historical Romance (PG-13)

Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG-13)

Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG)

MG Braden, Contemporary Romance (PG-13)

And don’t forget to head to Excerpt Monday’s site to read the whole list as well.

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Comments on: "Excerpt Monday" (23)

  1. […] Quinlan, Rom Com (PG) Bryn Donovan, Paranormal (PG) Dara Sorensen, Paranormal […]

  2. I read on your blog when you first came up with idea and I love this opening! The slight touches of humanity you give to the Lady of the Snow are perfect and I’m curious to see how she’ll develop as the story progresses.

  3. I really liked this!! intriguing idea, Excerpt Monday… 🙂

    my only critique would be three consecutive paragraphs began with ‘I’.

    the tone, sense of doom are wonderful! then the pulling back… really great… 🙂

  4. […] Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13) RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13) Crista McHugh, Paranormal  (PG 13) Dara Sorensen, Paranormal […]

  5. Very nice! Your writing is very lush…there’s great imagery in this excerpt. I would definitely read more!

  6. […] Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13) RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13) Crista McHugh, Paranormal (PG 13) Dara Sorensen, Paranormal […]

  7. Very nice, Dara. I even went to look up the legend. I’d read more too, just to find out what’s so different about this young man and more about the Lady of the Snow. I loved how ethereal she seemed, and I’m sure the next draft will be even lusher.

  8. Very nice job and welcome to the MEME ( I have no idea what that is, but several others have called it that). Great little excerpt, at first I thought she was a he, and he was a vampire. Cool new paranormal story. I like it and would love to see more.

  9. Hmm, well I need to go and make it clearer earlier that it’s a woman! I read it over again and can see how it can be seen that way.

    And thanks to all for the encouraging comments!

  10. Very intriguing. Nicely descriptive and I would definitely read on. Great share.

  11. […] Dara Sorensen, Paranormal (PG) RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13) […]

  12. melsmag said:

    Oh wow thrilling. Great excerpt! Can’t wait to read more.

  13. […] (PG 13) RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13) Crista McHugh, Paranormal  (PG 13) Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG) Dara Sorensen, Paranormal […]

  14. Oh, wow. I love this premise. I definitely want to read more. I found the writing style to give the lady an ethereal feel.
    Lovely.

  15. […] (PG 13) RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13) Crista McHugh, Paranormal  (PG 13) Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG) Dara Sorensen, Paranormal […]

  16. Great opening — love the imagery and the use of a unique paranormal creature.

  17. This was great, very unique – I look forward to reading more.

  18. Hi, Dara! Jeannie Lin suggested I contact you. Really enjoyed the excerpt. Would love to see just a tinge more of what makes her draw back. What sets that edge of humanity to her and makes her afraid? But otherwise, this was compelling and ethereal.
    I’m the author of a pseudo-wuxia(???) and seek other authors who have ventured into alternative cultures to tell their stories. Feel free to check out my blog and drop names and titles. Also, I’d like to do a reciprocal link to yours and Jeannie Lin’s blogs if that’s ok? I feel like we caucasian authors of Aisan work have to stick together. LOL.

  19. […] 10, 2009 by Dara Remember when I posted for Excerpt Monday last month? Well, now is your chance to […]

  20. […] Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13) RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13) Crista McHugh, Paranormal  (PG 13) Dara Sorensen, Paranormal (PG) Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Excerpt Monday – Cami’s […]

  21. *Great work! I like those garb details at the beginning because it reveals they’re Asian, or in an Asian land at least. Excellent concept and style. Her sardonic, icy nature comes through well.

    Here’s a bit of polish. Take what works for you and your story, ditch the rest. (delete) [add]

    She’s a little wordy. You could pick up the pace by removing unnecessary words and choosing more encompassing stand-alones. It’s a little draggy when she gets to the shelter and goes in for the kill. Tighten up the prose there.

    I float along the wind, (blending in with the blinding snow). [*married to or kin/one/uniting with the blinding snow…or something like that. If it’s truly blinding, they’d blend in too.]  Two men (covered) in straw coats and wide-brimmed bamboo hats struggle (to make their way) through the mountain pass, carrying [logs] strapped to their backs. The smaller one stumbles in the deep snow, nearly (losing his footing and *he already lost his footing by stumbling, so you can trim that off) falling [*plummeting sounds more hair-raising] off the edge of the narrow path to the dark valley below.

    Watching their pathetic struggle (*use fight or something similar, since you used struggle above) against the elements makes me laugh.

    Their last memory will be of my icy breath against their skin, taking their pitiful lives. (*A lot of theirs and thems. See if you can trim some out with rewriting…Final memories will be of my icy breath slicing through skin, ripping out life.)

    (I grow stronger with each cooling degree of the bitter winds. *Nice turn of phrase, but switch things up a bit to avoid I-starts when you can to provide good rhythm…With each cooling degree of the bitter winds, I grow stronger.)

    I fan my arms towards the door, directing the [squall; you used winds above] towards it. 

    I float over to the first man. His (weather-worn, should be one word but ditch since you used weather-worn door above, the next part says it all perfectly anyway.) face has certainly seen better years. 

    He looks remarkably peaceful in his slumber[,] given the ordeal of his mountain trek.

    He does not blink; (I know) my hypnotic gaze [prevents] him from doing so. 

    The muscles in his neck [tense and tremble, change in verb tense] beneath my hand.  [Vibrations snake] throughout the rest of his body as it fights to maintain precious warmth.

    Awesome job! Rock on. Can’t wait to read more.

    • Wow, thanks! I really appreciate it 🙂 I knew it needed a bit more polishing and I’m glad you helped me to see what I need to work on. Thanks again!

  22. […] Contemporary Romance (PG 13) RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13) Crista McHugh, Paranormal  (PG 13) Dara Sorensen, Paranormal […]

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