Leo's Angel Oak Tree

Monday, March 7, 2011


I love blogfests, but I'm coming late to this party. But, from what I hear, it's better late than never.  Thanks Margo for sharing with me. So, Kristina Fugate is hosting this great blogfest over at: http://kaykays-corner.blogspot.com.  Mosey on over and check it out. Seriously!

She says: "We've all heard it a millon times: If your book doesn't catch the agent/publisher's eye quickly, they'll probably reject it. So, I'm sure at one time or another we've asked ourselves, "Does my WIP catch people's attention right away?"

I'd love any feedback, so here are the first 550 words of Solstice.  What do you think? Does it catch your attention?

Chapter One: VISIONS

Splat! I stepped back from the doorway, dumbstruck. I felt my cheek and saliva oozed between my fingers. Spitballs at eight o’clock in the morning. “Nice.” It’s definitely going to be a long day! I wiped the drool infused paper from my face and trudged to my seat, ignoring the offender.

“Sorry, Grace. I didn’t mean to hit you,” Chad McCoy insisted. He’s my best friend’s boyfriend. Usually a nice guy, but spit…really? Chad smiled, thinking his Gossip Girl good looks more than paid for forgiveness, but I just buried my head behind my English Lit. Book. He was so not forgiven.

I only enjoyed my solitude for a few minutes when a manicured hand pulled my book down, and Merry’s face appeared. Her apologetic green eyes scanned my face. “I heard Chad hit you with a spitball. I’ve already punished him.” She nodded her red head once, sealing his sentence. “No lips ‘til lunch.”

Thanks to good ole Uncle Sam, Merry and I both moved to Moncks Corner, South Carolina at the same time due to base closures—both from single-child households. We often joke that we are long lost sisters separated at birth. Our parents also became instant friends. When the school year began and she caught Chad’s eye, she immediately fit into the established crowd. Being a self-declared loner, I didn’t, but I was always included because I was Merry’s friend.

“Thanks.” I grinned. “I saved some saliva in case you run low.”

“Don’t be like that,” she answered with her newly acquired southern twang, something I refused to gain. “He didn’t mean it. He was trying to hit Josh.”

“I know. You would think being the quarterback would improve his aim, but I understand now how we keep losing all of our games.”

That’s when Mrs. Bailey, English teacher extraordinaire, entered the classroom, her appearance less than professional. She was dressed in a violet tutu that clashed with her lime green tights, and her Tinker bell wings appeared to be pinned to her lavender sequined top. Odd doesn’t even begin to describe it. I mean, how many teachers willingly wear a fairy costume to class. In the thirteen schools I’ve attended, I’ve never met one…until today. The laughter died, and she had our undivided attention, something a teacher cherished in this high school.

“Fantasy.” Mrs. Bailey wrote the word in green chalk. “That’s what we’ll begin studying today.” She turned to address us. “What is real? What is fantasy?”

“Chad’s rumored shlong size is definitely fantasy,” Josh Sanford replied to a roaring response. Chad leaned over and smacked him. I giggled before I could stop myself.

“How do you know, Mr. Sanford?” Mrs. Bailey smiled. A chorus of ooohs rolled about the classroom, causing Mrs. Bailey to chuckle. “Fantasy in literature is anything involving the supernatural or paranormal. “Fairies…” She pranced around the classroom touching a select few with her jeweled wand. “Vampires…” She put on fangs and hissed. We all leaned back in our seats. “Werewolves.” At this word, the football team—which made up most of our class—howled at the ceiling. We laughed, and Mrs. Bailey applauded our enthusiasm for the subject, and then turned to write on the board.

“And angels,” a voice called from the back of the room.


So, there it is. Hope you liked it and it caught your attention.


  1. Dear Gardian Writer,

    It caught my attention!

    Though it is very early to comment (I read about 500 words out of 10k+ words), I wanna tell you that ... It will catch attention of anyone ready to read a book and enjoy going through the same.

    happy going

  2. I'm torn here. I loved the interactions between the kids and teacher (haven't heard 'schlong' since I was in middle school; nice to see juvenile slang never dies!). At the same time, I'm overwhelmed by characters. A bit confusing, but nothing that would keep me from reading, especially from the angel in the back. Well, I think.

    Nice start. Keep going!

    Marie, http://marierearden.blogspot.com

  3. A nice voice for the POV character, and you're obviously setting up a lot of stuff to come.

  4. This has nothing to do with your post: I LOVE THE TREE. *awesome*

    Okay, back to business. I like the way Grace moves through her environment, but am not sure if it's enough to draw in readers. If this is a paranormal, is there anyway to reveal (or drop hints) sooner? Maybe have Grace notice something 'different' about the person who said "and angels"? Just a suggestion.

    I'd keep reading. Thanks for posting, Natasha Hanova

    p.s. read that you write paranormal romance. Me too, I'm following you now. :-)

  5. Of all the entires for this blogfest, this, by far, is one of my favorites. I enjoyed the interactions between the students--as a high school English teacher, this felt very genuine to me.

    I wasn't as intrigued by the narrator as I was by the other characters--all the characters surrounding her seem to have much more life and energy. She says that Chad isn't forgiven for the spit ball, but then she doesn't do anything about it, not even given him a glare. I wonder why she is so meek--especially in comparison to all the other characters around her.

    I would love to keep reading!

  6. I love the voice of the MC, and you've painted the setting well. These are enough to keep me reading, but for a more finicky this probably would not be enough. I suggest you put more tension or action up front.

  7. I love the piece. It's fun and light-hearted, a nice change of pace from all the raw, nitty-gritty openings I've been reading. (Not to say I don't love those too. Lol!)

    You do a great job painting a scene. And the teacher. *gigglesnort* That's just adorable. Why couldn't I have had teachers like that?

    Thanks so much for sharing!