The Writer’s Voice

Blacktop Oracle
YA Paranormal Fantasy
65,000 Query

Cooper “Coop” Lambert is a disappointment to his parents. While mom and dad graduated college with honors in medical research, the only thing Coop excels at is trouble and convincing half the town he’s bonkers in the process. After a run in with Johnny Law, the solution the D.A. offers is diversion. Put it this way, community service is a vacation compared to this gig. He’s assigned to Mac, a crotchety piece of work who Coop swears is two days older than dirt, but the guy has a way with cars and owns a 1969 GTO that is bad ass. While working with Mac to restore her, Coop discovers the one thing he’s good at:  restoring classic cars. What was supposed to be a punishment is now an escape, from his parents, from the law, from the rumors, until Coop arrives at the garage one afternoon to find Mac dead.

Days after burying his elderly friend, Coop is still reeling, and things only grow more confusing when he finds out Mac left the GTO to him. Coop’s parents are less than thrilled, but seeing their son excel at something overcomes their reservations. Then Coop is ticketed three times for reckless driving. They think he’s regressing to his bad habits, but Coop isn’t the one causing trouble, it’s the car.  If it even is a car. No vehicle he’s ever driven goes all funhouse mirror while he’s doing 80 on the interstate. The windows wash out and instead of the surroundings he sees visions, people in trouble, people causing trouble. If that wasn’t looney toons enough, those visions start coming true, and the cops are eyeballing Coop since he’s knows details of the incidents that haven’t been released to the public. He doesn’t have to tell anyone, he can keep it to himself, keep his own fat out of the fire. Until he witnesses a murder. If he keeps his mouth shut, someone he knows dies. If he talks, it’s a one-way ticket up crap creek, where his parents have a rubber room on reserve.

I’m a writing instructor and workshop presenter, the founding member of critique group, Novel Clique, and Past President and current executive board member of the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. My stories have appeared in “Soft Whispers”; “A Fly in Amber”; and my articles with “First Opinions, Second Reactions” (Purdue University). My story, Taking Out the Trash, appeared in the 2010 Don’t Tread on Me anthology. I hold an MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska.

First 250

Dust swirled around Coop’s head like pollution, clinging to his hair, his skin, and his eyelashes. Grit lined his nose and tickled his throat, but he loved it. Except for the tedium of bodywork.

He stopped the sander and ran his gloved hand across the fender. A grunt got his attention, and he turned to Mac, sitting with his cast up on a case of WD-40. Coop placed the sander on the ground and pulled the dust mask from his face. “What?”

“Don’t go on many dates, do you?” Mac was famous for causing whiplash with his topic changes, but Coop had learned to go with it. “Huh?”

“A car is like a woman.” Mac shifted in his chair to ease the pressure on his leg. Coop wiped his arm across his forehead, mopping the sweat gathered there. What the hell did that have to do with anything? Mac’s wrinkled gaze had homed in on his, and he realized Mac wanted a response. “Yeah, how so?”

“A woman must be handled gently.” Mac ran his calloused hand lightly, almost lovingly, across the fender. “Stroked in a way that soothes rather than offends. A car is the same way.” Mac was full of…little bits of wisdom.

Coop looked down at the sanded spot, his mind struggling to follow. “Take that blasted glove off.” Mac’s gravelly voice landed on Coop’s last nerve, but he ripped the glove off.

“Now, run your hand across that spot you’re sanding, from right to left.


Filed under Writing

26 responses to “The Writer’s Voice

  1. Wow! Great voice in your query and 250. This sounds amazing.

  2. This is like an awesome YA Christine! So cool! Good Luck!

  3. Great writing! I like these characters already. Fun premise! Good luck!

  4. Good luck in the competition! A lot of other entrants are hanging out at #TheWVoice, btw – join in the fun!

  5. PitMad is June 4. Below is a twitch for your novel. Use it, change it, or don’t use it at all, but make sure you tweet something! If you do use this one, please pay it forward and support your fellow writers by retweeting all the good pitches you see (I’m @JD_ODonnell 😉 )

    After Coop inherits a GTO w/ windows that show a future murder, he must choose between saving a life and staying out of trouble #PitMad #YA

  6. Great writing! I really enjoyed your 250. Best of luck in the contest 🙂

  7. kathleea

    Great voice! Good luck!

  8. This sounds like a really fresh, fun take on a mystery!

  9. Dawn, I love this!!! Good Luck!!!

  10. I love this premise. Nothing better than a curmudgeon. 🙂 Good luck!

  11. What a great premise! Good luck!

  12. Your writing has lots of personality and the plot sounds original and exciting. It’s well written too, but I think you need a comma between “Days after burying his elderly friend” and “Coop is still reeling.” Otherwise, on first read it sounds like Coop has been buried.

    Thanks for your comment on my site! Best of luck in the contest.

  13. Connie MacElroy

    Good stuff. I love the premise, and the beginning pulls me right into the story. Good luck!

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