Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Secret Agent #28

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

I hadn't realized what day it was. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind until I was running down the porch and something shifted underneath my shoe on the last step. And then, within a second of looking down to see what is was, I remembered--not only the date, but everything associated with it: my sinking stomach, the unanswered questions, the fact that I'd promised myself I'd stop trying to understand it. And of course, the thing I remembered most--the flower. A dahlia, yellow and bright as the sun when spring first arrives in Shaver.

Always the same kind of flower, always the same color. Not once, in ten years, did it change. Nor did the method of delivery: sitting on the last porch step, in front of our house, on my birthday.
With my stomach now soured, the piece of bread I'd grabbed on my way out the door threatening its way up my esophagus, I bent down to pick up the dahlia. It should have made me smile, should have made me feel a little better after the chaotic morning, right? Well it didn't. Not that morning. Not ever.
Before I could wrap my fingers around the stem, my phone rang. A glance at the screen told me it was Eva, my best friend. We were both set to work together at the bookstore, so it wasn't hard to figure out why she was calling.

"Dahlia?" Eva shrieked.


  1. The ending definitely had me wanting to read the next page.

    That said, I'm not sure I'm hooked. I'm curious about the dahlia and like the imagery around it as well as the emotional response.

    However, the first paragraph ran long for me and could be tightened up for better impact.

  2. I like this. I'm curious about the flower - and it's ironic that it's the MC's name.

    On a different note, however, her job at the bookstore bugged me. Why? Because it's illegal for bookstores to hire minors because they sell adult material. It's a silly reason in my mind - because I always wanted to work at a bookstore - but it's true. So unless the MC is over eighteen, a bookstore employee probably isn't the most realistic occupation.

  3. I was definitely hooked. You did the right thing in the opener - focused on one really tantalizing issue, and then brought it home. I want more!

  4. I liked the writing, but trying to figure out what Dahlia stepped on slowed me down. I was expecting her to trip at first. The flower brought back memories of her date and her birthday? Also, what does ten years signify? I'm confused - did the flower bring back good memories or bad ones? Was her date the same person who delivered a flower on her birthday every year? How old is Dahila? I would read more.

  5. I like this.
    I would take this portion: "And of course, the thing I remembered most--the flower. A dahlia, yellow and bright as the sun when spring first arrives in Shaver."
    and change to: "I lifted my shoe and reached down, picking up the flower--a dahlia, yellow and bright as the sun."

    she's not so much remembering the flower, as that it's right there under her foot. no need to remember it, just pick it up. Also, "Shaver" threw me off a bit, unusual name for a town and so wasn't sure what it was for a second.

    I assumed "date" was a calendar date, not a "lets go out on a date" date. might want to clarify this one way or the other.
    nice job.

  6. Love it! It's terrific, very commercial premise. Would definitely want to read more.

  7. I liked the idea of this opening scene, her coming out to find the dahlia, but I thought it could be pared down a lot.

    SHe's going on and on, thinking about all the memories this flower brings up - while she's standing on it. Perhaps, have her pick it up first, and then go into the memories, and perhaps streamline it a bit so it reads smoother.

  8. I definealty am getting a visual of what is happening here and I think your opener is intriguing. However, it bothers me that she doesn't remember it is her birthday until she steps on the flower. I don't know any teen that would forget their birthday.
    I would like to read more though.

  9. (Oops- typo) definitely, not defineatly. : )

  10. Partly hooked but maybe that's just because all the description slows the action. I like the idea a lot.