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message 1: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Malone (MarcusMalone) | 13 comments I’d like to start this thread in the interest of connecting readers with what might be their next favorite author or authors. Authors should post one or two paragraphs of what you think is among the best paragraphs from one of your published books; this should be the cream of the crop. Show off some of your absolute best while trying to avoid spoilers.

Readers can sample some of the best GR authors have to offer and perhaps – just perhaps – you might discover your next favorite author.

Below is a passage from my recent release, The Simulator.

The Simulator by Marcus Malone
The Simulator

    Darkness had become her nemesis. After a long, trying day, Delaina was dead tired and turned in early, hoping to get some much-needed sleep. But her room, it would seem, was infested with darkness. It surrounded her like an illness and packed itself into shadowy corners, lurked under furniture, and crept along baseboards as it toiled to conceal evil and other morbidities within its inky cloak. It towered at the foot of her bed like a demon, then festered and spread as the night grew older. It gained strength against her and taunted her with unspeakable threats while she lay in bed helpless, wide-eyed, and nervous.
    A sound, perhaps in the distance, or perhaps nearby, drew her attention to the closet door. She struggled to see through the menacing darkness, which labored to hide all manner of nasty creatures known to lurk in the night. Was there something there? Was that movement among the shadows? Did they come back to take her to a world she couldn’t remember?

So, how about it? Give it a shot and show us your best.

Readers: sit back and enjoy the samplings, and please, provide comment as appropriate. Most authors appreciate feedback from their work, whether good, bad, or indifferent.

message 2: by Dave (new)

Dave Birchbauer (birchbauer) | 11 comments Hi all. I appreciate the chance of posting some of Alec's Dream. The following passage is the source for its blurb.

"I was given this by someone many years ago who said I would meet you one day, and that I should give this to you when we met. A long time I have waited... and now I fulfill my promise.” Chander placed the cloth sack into Jessie's hands. He then sat across from her.
Jessie held the sack like it was filled with spiders and carefully set it down. “How can you know that this is for me?” Her mind spun. How can this be? How could anyone even know that she would be here? Only through a strange series of events was she here at all... lost on an alien spaceship because she stowed away on another spaceship... impossible. And yet, here was an alien, on an alien spaceship that’s been expecting her to show up... and he even had a gift for her!

message 3: by Diane (new)

Diane Castle (dianecastle) | 67 comments Black Oil, Red Blood by Diane Castle Great idea! Here's the opening of my legal thriller, Black Oil, Red Blood.

I didn’t even know how to use a gun before yesterday, and I certainly hadn’t become a crack shot overnight. That didn’t bode well for my chances of survival at the moment —especially since I was currently staring down the wrong end of somebody else’s barrel. What was I supposed to do? Duck? Shoot first? Run?

Maybe the decision would have been easier if I hadn’t loved the guy pointing the gun at me. I watched his trigger finger tense as the smoky, toxic air around us seemed to grow even thicker. Walls shook and the floor rolled beneath me as an explosion thundered through the building. The PetroPlex flagship oil refinery was fast on its way to becoming nothing but a memory.

The doorframe buckled before my eyes—my only means of escape. Sharp orange tongues of flame lapped at me from above, sending down a rain of fiery particles as acoustic ceiling tiles disintegrated overhead.

That’s when I knew that gun or no gun, I was going to die.

message 4: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Malone (MarcusMalone) | 13 comments This is another excerpt from The The Simulator

The Simulator by Marcus Malone
The Simulator

    A heavy metallic echo cascaded through mile upon mile of darkened corroded corridor. It was a sound that was seldom heard in the ruins of the labyrinth, and over the distance it fell upon many ears cowering among the shadows. Those that heard the relentless rhythmic hammering conjured ominous images of misfortune, wrongdoing, and evil, as if demons gathered at a distant forge beat sin itself into an unhallowed blade. Few would investigate the relentless stream of echoes and many deemed it a mystery that was best left to its own devices.

message 5: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Malone (MarcusMalone) | 13 comments Jaq wrote: "Gods, how can you narrow down what constitutes best of the best of a good story?..."

It’s a tough call, isn’t it?

I often miss writing the period dialog for The Last Apprentice (set in Atlantis over 11,000 years ago); it was a unique style of dialog that lent itself remarkably well to a one-of-a-kind story. While it’s hard to pin-down what is the best of the best, I chose a section rich in dialog to provide a sample of the exceptional dialog style, which permeates the 170,000-word story.

The Last Apprentice by Marcus Malone
The Last Apprentice

       "There came upon me the smell of a goat. I looked there," he pointed toward the center of the room, "and I saw a creature of the most hideous kind. It was the half part of a goat, and the half part of a man such that the bottom was goat and the top was man—save for two small horns and eyes black as pitch."
       Marcus paused and waited to accept rebuttals.
       "Continue," Odius insisted firmly, "Our time grows short. What did this creature do?"
       Marcus wrinkled his brow in confusion. He could hardly believe that Odius was accepting this story, yet had rejected his perfectly reasonable account of how he had become stranded. He had grown to hate this strange land of Atlantis and wanted nothing more than to return to Greece where outlandish stories were limited to minstrels' tales.
       Maia nudged his shoulder, "Continue."
       "When I set eyes on this creature I found I could not move. I tried, I wanted to run, but I could not move. The creature walked to the rack, then picked up the scroll you speak of. Then, the creature came up to me! He held the scroll by one end, like it were a sword, then poked the other end here," he pointed to the center of his chest, "and said, 'tell the wizard his time grows short.' Then he vanished like a dream at daybreak."
       "Hmm..." Odius thought for a moment. "Was that all he said?"
       Marcus was stunned that Odius believed him, "Yes!"
       "You say about the half part of an hour past?"
       "Yes!" Suddenly a look of revelation came over Marcus. He pointed to Odius, "You're him, the wizard the creature spoke of! Are you not!?"
       "That was no creature," Odius remarked, "That was a god; Pan."
       "A god?" Marcus asked in disbelief, "A god?"
Maia interrupted, "Odius, that was before the writing of light. Pan said a trap was set. Perhaps the trap has something to do with the scroll."
       "You are sought by the gods!?" Marcus began to take several leery steps backwards, "I believe I want no part of this." He began to slowly edge his way toward the door, "Please, wizard, let me go about my business of hiding and I shall forget I have ever seen you." He pointed toward the door, "I shall find another place to hide and leave you to whatever wizards do."

(Damn, I miss writing that dialog!)

message 6: by Patricia (last edited Feb 19, 2012 03:16PM) (new)

Patricia Puddle (trishapuddle) | 240 comments Hey, what a great idea! Thanks, Markus. Here's a sample from one of my children's books in my Rascals series:
Star-Crossed Rascals by Patricia Puddle Star-Crossed Rascals

Auntie held her fists up. “Your parents will hear about this, you rude child.”
I sucked in my cheeks and zoomed into the house through the backdoor. But Auntie tricked me. She came in through the front entrance and caught me in the hallway.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she yelled.
I clasped my fingers together. “Well … um … I … I’m grounded, so I’m going back to my bedroom.”
With an evil smile, Auntie curled a finger. “Come with me, Polly.”
I shivered. I didn’t want to go with her. She was not a nice woman.
“Come on,” she said, grabbing my hand and leading me upstairs to the bathroom. “I have a little job for you.”
“What sort of job?” I asked. I didn’t want to do any chores.
Auntie gave me a bucket of soapy water and passed me a toilet brush.
Frowning, I looked up. “What’s that for?”
She folded her arms and grinned. “You’re going to clean the toilet.”
I stared at that bristly white brush. “I don’t know how to clean a toilet,” I said. “I’m just a little kid.”
“Well,” she said, “You’re never too young to learn.”
Poo! That toilet stunk. I squinted at her and said, “I don’t want to clean a yucky toilet bowl. Mum never makes me.”
“Really?” she said. “But you didn’t mind eating other people’s filthy chewing gum and mouldy dog poo. Did you?”
I put my hands on my hips. “I didn’t eat them,” I said. “I just tasted them a bit.”
“Well, from now on,” she said. “You can clean the loo every time you’re naughty. Now get on with it. And wipe the floor while you’re at it.” She passed me the mop on her way out. But as soon as she closed the door, I shook it at her. Then I leaned it against the wall.
My friends didn’t have to clean toilets. Pinching my nose, I peered into the bog hole. Gross! I didn’t want loo slime on my fingers. But that toilet brush was way too short. I grabbed the mop instead. I dunked it in the bucket and shoved it down the poo hole. After jiggling it about, I pressed it down real hard. Auntie wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t clean it good.
Oops. It jammed in the bend. I pulled and pulled, but it wouldn’t come out. Yipes! Now what would I do?
I climbed onto the toilet seat and pulled even harder, but that stupid mop was stuck. I gulped. Then I heaved and heaved. My face got real hot and my tummy made a loud rumbling noise. Darn it! Now I needed to use the loo.
That mop was a pest. I pressed the flush button, but it jammed even more. Yucky water poured out of the toilet bowl and covered my shoes. Shoot! Now I was gonna poop my pants. As I held my belly, Auntie’s big thumping feet came thundering up the stairs.
My legs trembled.
The door swung open and Auntie barged in. “Oh, my goodness,” she cried, pulling at her hair. “Now, what’ve you done?”
I froze with my mouth open.

message 7: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Puddle (trishapuddle) | 240 comments Here's an excerpt from the sequel:
Rascals Sing at The Opera House (Star-Crossed Rascals #2). by Patricia Puddle
Rascals Sing at The Opera House (Star-Crossed Rascals #2).


I bit my lip to stop from giggling. I’d never stunk out a classroom before.
Miss Badger narrowed her eyes at me, so I stared at my fingers.
Just then, the headmistress came through the door. Uh oh! She was curling her nose up like she could smell something too.
“Oh, my,” she said. “What’s that weird smell?” She marched over to a window and opened it. “We need some fresh air in here.”
Miss Badger pointed at me. “I suspect Pollyweena wet her pants and dried them on the windowsill. Now the classroom stinks to high heaven. I don’t think it’s a good idea to let her go to the Opera House after all. What if she does that on stage?”
The headmistress looked at me.
“Did not!” I said.

message 8: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Puddle (trishapuddle) | 240 comments Excerpt from : Molly Gumnut Rescues a Bandicoot by Patricia Puddle

Molly Gumnut Rescues a Bandicoot

She stroked him from the tip of his nose to the top of his tiny head. Then holding him close to her chest, she sang her made-up song,

“Furble’s not a Gerbil.
He’s just a bandicoot.
We gave him lots of bugs to eat,
But his favourite food is roots.”

A fallen branch cracked outside the window. Her eyes darted nervously about. She swallowed, then sang louder and stronger to scare off any ghosts or monsters.

“I saved him from a big old cat,
Who thought he was a little rat.
He longs for freedom now his wounds have healed,
So I’ll let him go in a grassy field.”

The little bandicoot licked her fingers. He didn’t seem scared now, but Molly couldn’t stop shaking. “We’ll just have to stay here all night and wait until morning.”
Her stomach growled. She hadn’t eaten anything since lunch and it was surely past dinnertime. She pictured a huge plate of spaghetti with meatballs all covered in cheese. She licked her lips and wondered what her family was having for dinner. Then she realized how worried they must be.
As twilight turned to darkness, she could barely see. She tucked Furble back in her backpack and zipped it. She wrapped her arm around her bag and curled up on the rough old bed. She couldn’t remember ever being this cold.
A small animal scampered across the leaves on the wooden floor beneath her. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled. Every sound in the house echoed. She moved to the middle of the bed. If only she had a blanket. She felt sure she'd heard a panting sound outside the window. Could it be a dingo or a fox? Maybe it was a huge dog. She tried to keep as still as she could, but she couldn't stop trembling. She chewed the inside of her cheek until she tasted blood. With tears in her eyes, she fell into a fitful sleep and dreamed about cars and sirens.

message 9: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Puddle (trishapuddle) | 240 comments Excerpt from: : Velvet Ball and the Broken Fairy
Velvet Ball and the Broken Fairy by Patricia Puddle

Velvet stared at the pretty little creature. Her dark-red ponytail sat high on her head, tied with a plait of golden beads. She wore a yellow cotton dress, covered with tiny pink rosebuds. Even her undies matched.
“Are you going to make a wish, or just stare at my underwear?” The doll scowled and adjusted her clothes.
Bewildered, Velvet bit her lip. Maybe it wasn’t a trick after all. This doll had wings – soft delicate pink ones with little bells on the tips. She must be a fairy, but she wasn’t like the fairies in Velvet’s story books. She looked different somehow. Maybe it was the way her hair was tied up and the pointed yellow boots she wore. Fairies didn’t dress like that. Did they?
“Stop prodding my wings,” snapped the doll. “It hurts.”
“Sorry,” said Velvet. “Are you a fairy?”
The doll rolled her eyes and pointed to her wings. “Um, what do you call these?”
“Well, that doesn’t mean you’re a fairy,” said Velvet. “Maybe you’re just a wind-up toy with wooden arms and legs.” She turned the doll around and peeped under her dress.
The fairy slapped Velvet’s hand. “What’s the big idea?”
“Just checking,” said Velvet, sitting the squirming fairy on a branch in front of her. How could she talk like a real person?
“Checking for what?” The doll frowned and tucked her skirt tight around her legs.
“Batteries,” said Velvet, feeling rather silly for talking to a doll. “I don’t believe you’re a real fairy.”
The fairy jabbed Velvet in the stomach with her finger. “Batteries? I’m not a toy! And I’m not wooden either.” She straightened her back and waved her arms at the trees. “I’m Roseberry – Fairy of Crabtree Forest.”
“Okay. Prove it!” Velvet pulled off her hat and pointed at her bald head. “Make my hair grow back.”
Roseberry didn’t seem at all shocked at Velvet’s lack of hair. She just pulled out a tiny silver wand from her pocket and tapped it gently on the top of Velvet’s head. “Your wish is granted. Now, I must go about my business. So, thanks for saving me. Cheerio.”
“Hang on a minute,” said Velvet, feeling her head. “I’m still bald. Where’s my hair?” Sure, the fairy hadn’t laughed at her, but she hadn’t kept her word either.
“Patience,” said Roseberry. “Give it time.”
Velvet puckered her brow. “Patience? I hear that all the time. Be patient, your hair will grow back one day. Well, I’ve had enough. I’m all out of patience. I have Alopecia Areata and I don’t know if my hair will ever grow back. Anyway, you said if I saved you, you’d grant me a wish. So where is it?”
Roseberry tapped her ruby lips. “Hmm, what’s Alopecia Aree-what did you call it?”
“Alopecia Areata is a skin decease,” said Velvet. “Some people get it when they’re really sick and they lose all the hair on their entire body.” Talking about it made the awful memories come flooding back. “I had a really bad virus which lasted for a whole year. It made me feel tired all the time, and I couldn’t go to school. My parents decided to move to the country, so I’d get lots of fresh air. And the doctor said if I got better, my hair might grow back one day. Well, I’ve been well for six months now, but I’m still bald.”
“That’s a terrible thing to happen,” said Roseberry. “But what does it matter if you have no hair?” She threw her hands out. “After all, appearance isn’t everything. Who you are inside is what counts. Anyway, you have beautiful, emerald green eyes and a lovely round head.”
Velvet pulled her hat back on and frowned. “That’s okay for you to say. You have hair. Having a round head doesn’t help me. It just gets me teased."

message 10: by Holly (new)

Holly Bush Excertpt from Romancing Olive

Olive sniffed, righted herself and focused on the unwilling victims of this play. Convention be damned, she thought. If she must live on Jacob Butler’s farm until John and Mary could be coaxed back to civilization, then so be it.

“Don’t let the children see your tears, Miss Wilkins,” he said.

Olive realized they were pulling up in front of the Butler house. She quickly dried her face and stood up in the wagon. This weathered house, with its’ patterns of crops, looked clean and new and righteous. What she had dismissed as shabby, earlier in the day was in a dire need of scrubbing, yes, but held a family, and held it with love. No wonder Mary did not want to leave. This was a castle and this man, Jacob Butler, a prince, compared to what Mary had known.
Romancing Olive by Holly Bush

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