Teaser Tuesday….Now That’s a Haircut!

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday May 25, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

OMG, I’ve been such a blog slacker lately! I think the pre-sub stress is getting to me (but hey, by the time I actually go on sub, I should be broken in, right? :D In the meantime, I’ve put in about 14k on a new WIP–which is not this one. I’m contrary like that. This is a snip from an older WIP that’s gathering dust at the moment. Hope you enjoy! (P.S. I swear, I started this novel prior to getting my awesome agent, who is named Taylor like my extremely messed up MC–EEEEK! Sorry, Taylor!)

“Although, you can’t blame them for being jealous. You really do have amazing hair.” He tugs on a strand, letting it slide between his fingers until it falls back into place.

Your hair is amazing, Taylor. You’re so lucky–I wish mine was long and wavy like yours.

Lainey’s voice, filling my ears. Lainey’s fingers, running through my hair the same way.

I stumble back as anxiety claws its way up into my throat, dimming my surroundings. My hair. I can still feel her fingers tugging it, separating it into sections for a braid. I used to love having people play with my hair. Now, I feel like something heavy is trying to suffocate my head, like the strands brushing my neck are trying to choke me. I can’t take it. I can’t—

“I’ve got to go,” I blurt, before scooping up my backpack and dashing for the door. I don’t wait to see what he says, but sprint for the bathroom. Please be empty, please, please.

I burst in, heart hammering, worrying half the school chose this very moment to take a pee break. Luckily there’s no one inside. The panic is nearly drowning me now. I yank at my hair until tears spring to my eyes. Keep yanking, but it won’t come off. I hate it. People see my hair and think they know me. They don’t. Those stupid blond strands aren’t me, not anymore.

I wish mine was long and wavy like yours.

I stare at my reflection blindly. Then, I dig frantically through my backpack for my knife.

The relief hits the second my fingers touch the cold metal, but it’s short-lived. Get it off, I have to get it off. I yank a strand taut with the other hand and start sawing away.

A huge chunk of blond floats to the floor. Followed by another. And another. Once I start, I can’t stop. It’s amazing how every butchered piece releases a little of that rib-grinding pressure from my chest, eases the solidified feeling in my lungs. Pretty soon, the entire floor is littered with hair. It looks like someone buzzed a fucking Golden Retriever in here. I don’t stop, though. I don’t stop until every last strand is gone—and I can finally breathe again.

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Teaser Tuesday–Family Matters

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Apr 27, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

Just a little snippet I wrote a few minutes ago! Hope you enjoy!

“Taylor? Hey hon, how was your day?”

I pause, stare at the ceiling. Wonder briefly what she’d say if I told her the truth—that I’d had an epic sized freak-out in English, purposely shunned everyone at lunch, and told the only semi-decent guy I’d met in ages to fuck off. But that would ruin the whole façade of how well our family is coping with everything. I mean, God forbid Mom ever admit that her life might be less than perfect.

I toss a believable smile over my shoulder. Thanks to Mom, I’ve been a pro at faking them for years. “Oh, it was great.”

“Did you make any new friends? Join any clubs?”

“I’m still…scoping things out.”

“Well…just don’t wait too long.”

Worry lines distort the skin over her nose, and I feel a pang of regret. I shouldn’t be so hard on her. I know she loves me. She tries, anyway. It’s just that she mistakes being overly involved in the details of my social life for some crazy deep bond. But I can’t share important stuff. I can’t. Talking, really talking, would mean admitting there’s a problem in the first place. And if we had a family motto? It would totally be: ignore it until it goes away.

Relief strips the tightness from my chest once the door to my room clicks shut. I kick off my shoes and burrow into my bed. Finally relax in the peace that comes from not playing a role.

When I’m by myself it’s like I’m shedding a fake skin, sloughing off the pretense of being okay until it crumples into shriveled little pieces all around me. My down comforter doesn’t give a damn if I’m something less than perfect. Flawed.


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Teaser Tuesday: She Bangs, and an added note about bullying

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Apr 13, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

Added note: Sadly, it’s kind of ironic that my teaser is about bullying, given the nature of some of the tweets going on today. I hope it’s a trend that won’t be repeated. So many of us write/represent/edit YA, and it’s such an awful epidemic in our schools. And cyber-bullying is perhaps the worst kind, since it reaches such large numbers of people so quickly. Please, let’s set a good example by saying NO to public bullying of any kind, and keep it confined to the pages of our novels. Thanks for listening.


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Teaser Tuesday…Ghosts?

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Apr 6, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

So, this is from a different WIP than the one I’ve been teasing from lately. It’s super rough, so I’ll probably pull it after a few days. Love to hear your thoughts–I’m still debating present vs. past tense for this one.

I spot her immediately, the girl from yesterday. The one who’d needed my shirt. What was her name again? Hayden? Kayden?

Jayden, that was it.

Something weird happens as I stare at her, though. Her long, straight dark hair morphs into shoulder-length, light brown waves. She grows to a gawky height. And her laugh—it sounds eerily familiar.

I gasp. No. No way. Goosebumps streak across my skin while I cover my sunglasses with my hands. When I drag them away again, a face blocks my view, just an arm’s length away.

“Everything okay?”

A pair of concerned brown eyes inspect me—familiar ones. It takes me a second, but then it clicks. It’s the guy from my walk of shame yesterday, the do-gooder.

I glance over at the quad, but Lainey is gone. It’s Jayden standing there.

Lainey is gone.

I shake my head and shift my attention back to the boy. “You know, that question is totally pointless,” I finally say.

He tilts his head to the side, sending a lock of brown hair skidding across his forehead. Cute trick. I wonder how long he’d practiced that in the mirror to get it just right.

“Pointless? Why do you say that?” he asks, studying me, his lips quirking up into a small half-smile. Almost like he can read my mind, and whatever he sees there is infinitely amusing.

Great. So glad I can entertain him. I tighten my grip on my backpack. “It’s pointless, because nobody ever wants to hear the truth.”

Without waiting for a response, I turn my back on him and start walking. I’m not sure where I’m going, but the location doesn’t matter. I just have to get away, away from stupid questions and stupid boys and bitchy girls in the quad. And most importantly, away from ghosts.

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Teaser Tuesday: Beware of the Wall Face

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Mar 30, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

At the last minute, decided to post a random Teaser from my WIP about a girl’s addiction. It’s rough, raw, and a wee bit dark. Hope you enjoy! (And with that, it’s back to the revision cave for me!)

It’s cold, so freaking cold. I curl my knees into my body, wrap my arms around tight. Sit very, very still. I’m almost afraid to breathe. They’re staring at me, I know they are. Hunting me. Faces in the wall, bursting out and grabbing at me with long, fleshless fingers. They’re all out to get me. Devour me. I scrunch down into the tightest ball I can manage, trying to disappear.

Something brushes against my neck.

My body shivers, and I rock, rock, rock, keeping my eyes tightly closed. “No, no, go away! I can’t see you, I can’t.”

A voice. “Kaylin?”

They know my name. They’re trying to trick me. I can’t look, I can’t look. They might snatch me into the wall if I do. “No. No! NO!!! La, la, la, I can’t see you.” I start to laugh, rock even faster.

They won’t win. I’m too smart. I’m too—

“NO!” My hands whip up like claws to scratch at whatever is touching my neck, but I keep my eyes squeezed shut like my life depends on it. Oh, God, are there bugs crawling on me? I shake violently, slap at my arms. Maybe if I peel off my skin, they’ll go away. I start to scratch, and I can’t stop. Deep down, a part of me knows I’m shredding the fuck out of my arms, but I don’t care. I want it to go away. I want everything to go away. My skin is dirty, but blood is clean. Blood will wash it all away.

“Jesus—KAYLIN! STOP!” Strong hands manacle my wrists, yank my arms behind me.

It’s a trick. It’s a trick. It’s—

My eyelids flutter open. A figure, kneeling before me, dark hair dripping like chocolate across his forehead. Not a wall face. Safe. “P-Patrick?”

Relief rushes through me in a wave of liquid joy. My fears melt away. But something is wrong. I can see it, there in the downward arch of his mouth, the pain radiating behind his dark blue eyes.

My trembling fingers reach up to touch the cool skin of his cheek. “Patrick, why are you sad?”

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Teaser Tuesday–A bad trade

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Mar 9, 2010 Under writing

So, this comes just a short bit after the last Teaser, after Kaylin spends spends a little time in the room with Jones, the guy with the goods. Rough draft alert!

I float out of the room a short while later—minutes? Hours? I have no clue. I’m glowing, glowing. My fingers skim the walls, graze the nubby texture, the air. I laugh and the sound floats around me, hovers. I’ve got more energy than I can fucking stand. I feel like I could explode out of my own skin, race a few hundred laps around the neighborhood, and not even have to stop for air. But most of all, I feel like I’m going to burst if I don’t find someone to talk to. I need people around me.

I take another step and stumble. Underneath my buzz, something slinks into my consciousness, something dark and dirty.

I brush my fingers against my lips, brush away the taste. Then shake my head. My hair whips at warp speed and I see black dots and lights. I welcome the distraction and do it again. And again.
Then I stumble out toward the comforting chaos of the party.

The laughter, the voices—they cover me like warm fog, fill every corner of my brain. I shove my way into the first group of people I see, just craving that feeling of connection. Shane’s telling some story about a practical joke they played on their coach, and I start laughing hysterically. The sound roars around me. Musical. Free.

Shane grins and ruffles my hair. “Gee, I wonder what you’ve been doing? I can’t believe anyone ever thought you were such a goody-goody. Slacker.”

The feel of his fingers in my hair reminds me of the room. Of other fingers gripping my hair tightly. Thankfully, though, the thought evaporates almost before it registers. I launch into babble-mode, bouncing on my heels all the while. Loving the feel of the overhead lights dancing across my skin. Life is so full of cracking energy, amazing. It can’t get any better than this.

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Teaser Tuesday–more experimenting with first person present

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Feb 9, 2010 Under writing

Since I’ve skipped the past few Teasers, I decided I’d better post something today, even though I’m not really sure what that something is yet. It’s a bit of YA first person present I’ve been tinkering with. I sent some out to crit group this week (meep!) so I figured, what the heck? Maybe I’d be brave and post a snip on here, too! (double meep!)

Comments welcome, as always!

When I walk down the stairs, Mom’s smile is the same one she’s been wearing for the past four months—perky, wide. Strained.

Then she gives me a once over, and the smile fades. It’s not long before she’s hovering, which makes even our condo-sized kitchen feel claustrophobic, and I can see her biting her lip. She’s trying not to say anything about my new look. But I know her. Former Miss Chester County won’t be able to help herself.

Sure enough, one last graze of lasered-white teeth against perfectly applied Chanel lip-color later, she says, “Hon, are you sure that’s what you want to wear on your first day of school?”

I look down. I’m wearing a frayed t-shirt, an old pair of jeans that had probably worn out their coolness years ago, and a pair of scuffed up sneakers. Not as awful as I’d like, to be honest. I completely procrastinated on my mission to stock up on school clothes at the local discount store. But my blond hair is pulled back into a haphazard braid that makes me look about twelve, and instead of contacts, I’m wearing my ancient square glasses—the ones my brother used to tease me were only fit for one-hundred year old librarians. Or asexual men.

“Yes, this is exactly what I want to wear.”

Mom opens her mouth as if to protest, but appears to think the better of it. “Okay, hon. Just remember, everything will be fine.” She’s using that soft, soothing voice I hate, the one that says she thinks I’m a wild, injured animal that needs to be approached with extra care. And I know she’s not finished; we’ve been here before. Soothing voice is always followed by some false platitude about how I’m really such a nice girl.

Wait for it. Wait for it. “You’re a good person—whether you believe it or not.”

But she can’t hold my gaze when she says it, she never can; instead, she turns to fuss with the already perfect place setting.

We both know she’s lying.

I don’t reply, but my silence speaks volumes. I grab a single piece of toast off a plate groaning with pancakes, eggs, the works. Because it’s a universal mom fact that food will solve everything that’s wrong in the world. I sling my backpack over my shoulder.

“You have to eat more than that before your first day,” she frets.

“I’ll be fine. Thanks though,” I add, leaning down to give her a peck on the cheek. After all, it’s not her fault. “Besides, I need to get going if I’m going to walk.”

Mom frowns. “I still don’t know why you’re planning on walking. You have a perfectly good car.”

Too good—that was the problem. I didn’t want to show up for the first day at my new school in a Lexus convertible. “Haven’t you heard? Exercise is good for you.”


I try to smile, but my mouth fumbles over how to form one. It feels like decades have passed since I’ve activated those particular muscles. In reality, it’s only been a few months. “See ya later.”

Then, I walk out the door to start the mile hike to school. This year will be different. It has to be.

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Trying something new and probably failing miserably Teaser

Posted by houndrat on Monday Jan 18, 2010 Under writing

So, as I head down the homestretch on Demon Gaurd revisions, I decided to post something new for a change. This is a random snip from a story that doesn’t have much of a plot yet. Or any plot at all, really. It’s also totally different than anything I’ve written before.

Comments appreciated, as always! :D

I walk through campus and take in all the buildings, the quad, the school I’ve attended for the past three years. My eyes seek a tangible clue, a scrap of evidence that things have changed.

But I find…nothing. The familiar stucco walls are still the color of butterscotch, the grass in the senior courtyard the same vibrant shade of green. Even the old oak sprawling proudly through the middle of campus appears to have the same number of leaves. The kids laughing and gossiping their way past me in huddles are talking about the same meaningless topics as always…parties, dates, homework.

I turn to cut through the corridor toward homeroom, when I spot him.


My heart slams to a halt in my chest. Then, it kick-starts into an unsteady gait, like an athlete’s first limping step after an injury.

As I watch him lean into a curvy dark-haired girl, his arm loosely draped across her shoulders, I finally pinpoint what’s different. It’s not the school, or the students, or anything that I can touch. It’s my hold on James. Always tenuous at best, my slippery claim to him has faded along with the intensity of the summer sun.

I’d give just about anything to change that.

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Demon Guard Teaser: When a Kiss Goes Wrong

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Jan 12, 2010 Under writing

Another Teaser from Demon Guard, because, hey–what else to I work on these days? But I finally have a FINISHED ROUGH DRAFT—WOOT!

Anyway–this scene comes in pretty close to the story’s climax. Shade just found Summer talking to Cody in a deserted hallway during the school dance. The boy clearly isn’t in good shape, not at all, and he’s wanting to know if there’s something going on between our heroine and another guy. Here goes:


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Demon Guard Teaser!

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Jan 5, 2010 Under writing

In case anyone is wondering what DG is about, a fellow crit group member (the amazing Amy Bai) summed it up as Mean Girls meet Harry Potter. That totally works for me–although, I could also go with Veronica Mars meet Something-Vampire-Academy-esque-But-Without-the-Vampires. Um, yeah. Maybe I should stick with my crit partner’s version.

At any rate, this Teaser follows shortly after the one a few weeks ago, where the MC Summer discovers that a lewd photo of her and Billy, a guy she despises, was photo-shopped and sent around the school. This is Billy catching up with her afterwards. Oh, and, if this is your first time–the MC has been hearing voices for a few days now. As usual, all comments welcomed and appreciated!


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