Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Secret Agent #41

TITLE: Tarot Traders
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Toria winced as she flicked a lit match into the fireplace, setting ablaze her forty-ninth tarot card and all remnants of her old alias. A haze of smoke wafted into her dingy apartment. The stench of burned plastic scorched her nostrils. The clock struck midnight and her Erin identity ceased to exist.

January first, her rebirth day. Once again she turned eighteen, but today she became Kaity.

Sweat beaded on her brow, but not from the open fireplace. Hair clung to her clammy forehead. She clawed at her death metal T-shirt, raking her nails over her heart in vain as she sank to her knees. Unbearable pressure squeezed the pulsing organ. Her heartbeat accelerated as she raced backward through time.

Slow, deep breaths offered the only relief. She forced an image into her mind: a massive cathedral dwarfing the surrounding city.

Sevilla,” she whispered as her body collapsed.

Her eyelids pinched shut. She chanted her destination over and over. The new penthouse apartment awaited, already fully stocked. One massive time travel hangover from now she’d be herself again, only better.

The toes always went numb first, losing touch with the retreating ground. Heat roared up her legs as if a bonfire were devouring her. Her limbs flailed, resisting the combustion inside her. Yet her mind held steady because she’d chosen this path.

The phoenix can only rise from the ash.

She clung to that image, that city she longed to wake up in, certain the repeated year would be worth the agony.


  1. This is well done. I got a really good feel for the MC and although it's a lot of information I wasn't confused at all. I would definitely read more. Good luck!

  2. I'm not huge on characters starting out alone. Even with the lovely descriptions, I have no idea if I like her or not because she has no one to react with or talk to. She has only physical sensations so I'm kind of stumped. Of course it is so difficult to meet a character in 250 words. I can't do that with a person in real like so there you go.

  3. I agree with Sonia. It's well done, and I get a good feel for the MC. I don't mind if characters are alone or not. The important thing is that something pushes the story forward. I'm curious about what she is, especially since she's done this 'rebirthing' before.

  4. Strong writing. I'd cut the opening sentence in half. I would also remove the Phoenix line. Maybe put it in later.
    For some reason, I am in love with the line "her eyelids pinched shut" :)

  5. Strong writing. I'd cut the opening sentence in half. I would also remove the Phoenix line. Maybe put it in later.
    For some reason, I am in love with the line "her eyelids pinched shut" :)

  6. Yes some great writing here. Well done. My only comment would be to think about starting a little before this scene; tell us what her life is like now and show us who she is so that when this happens to her we understand her life/setting and also care about her. Right now she's at arm's length. I know they say start at the action but if you dig deeper, that advice turns into 'slightly before the action' - NOT at the inciting incident, but just a little before. Think Hunger Games - Katniss doesn't start off volunteering herself in place of her sister - we learn of her world and her character for a brief chapter first...Twilight - she doesn't meet the vampire on page one...her world and the MC is introduced briefly first...
    Good're well on your way.

  7. I like where you're going with this, I like your writing, and I'm curious about the premise of your story, but I'm not invested in this character. You might consider starting at a different point, even 10 minutes prior to midnight so that you can set the stage. Orient your reader in the story first and give us an opportunity to connect to your character.

  8. This is an intriguing premise... I assume it's going to be some kind of human phoenix regeneration story, and I like that! It's original and I'd read more! The first paragraph, in particular, I liked a lot. It set an intriguing, mysterious tone that I like!

    However, her transition felt a little off for me. Particularly the line: "Unbearable pressure squeezed the pulsing organ." I had to read that several times to understand what you meant. I think you're talking about the heart, but it sounds weird and doesn't flow very well. I agree with some of the other comments above about wanting more context. I think if you put in a bit more BEFORE she transitions, it would help me (as a reader) feel more grounded once she does.

    Good luck! I'd definitely read more of this!