Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grab My Heart #6

TITLE: Desert Awakening
GENRE: Adult Fantasy

Conflict photographer, Ella finds an ancient statue in Syria and becomes guardian to a celestial gate, which will unleash 5000 years of war if it opens.

Ella’s hand shook as she slid her most precious possession—a tiny padded envelope—across the splintered countertop. A small man with sinewy arms and thin mustache took it. Dark, rust colored dirt embedded under his fingernails. Everyone had dirty hands here.

It coated everything.

The roofs of buildings, the peoples’ faces, the faded blood that stained the streets.

His dark eyes peered up at her under thick brows. “Only the one?” he said.

“Yeah,” Ella said, nodding.

“That’ll be fifty.”

 Ella rolled her eyes and sighed. “Fifty?” she scoffed. “Last week it was thirty.”

She had no choice but to pay it. They’d barricaded the East Highway, and the Southern route has been closed after that chopper but pulled a crumpled bill from her back jean pocket. This was to be expected. Everyday more roads were being either barricaded or unsafe for travel.  Her livelihood depended on that little memory card. Containing hundreds of photos, she’d pay almost any price to ensure it arrived safely in the states. She handed the money to him.

 “Thank you,” he said with a heavy Arabic accent. He grinned, displaying a set of crooked, stained teeth.

Ella grumbled. “And my mail?”

The man gave a quick nod, and stuffing the fifty into his shirt pocket, he disappeared into a back storage room. Ella turned around, and rested her elbows against the edge of the rough wood. Two dark-skinned men entered. She eyed them warily. With thick forearms and broad shoulders, their shirts had several faded red stains on them.


  1. My suggestion would be to mention upfront that your story is set in Syria. You draw an interesting picture of what a dangerous place Ella is in, so it would be good to know where it is.

    Also, there's a little bit of "white room syndrome" with all the dialogue here. I don't have much of a sense of where Ella is. I did like the little details like the dirt under the fingernails.

    I also liked how what's important to Ella is stated very up-front (the memory card) and how you insert tension right away.

    Note to Authoress: My screenname on my submission form doesn't match, it was katydid, entry #2.

  2. I really like your pitch and the fact that Ella is a conflict photographer is very unique!

    For the first 250 words, I really love the description. I can tell you've got strong prose and execution :)

    I love this line here:

    "It coated everything.

    The roofs of buildings, the peoples’ faces, the faded blood that stained the streets."

    My only criticism would be to change the opening line to "The dirt coated everything" and to move "Ella's hand shook" to after those lines describing the scenery. Usually, I'd be against suggesting the scenery as a starting point, but since your scenery is unique I think it would work better for you.